Major Allen Joines declared December 20, 2017 Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Day in a news conference hosted by Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc., the administrator/implementer of the program across North Carolina. Matt Britt, CEO/Board of Directors for Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc. spoke and introduced the guest speakers including Councilwoman Denise Adams who shared the proclamation from Mayor Joines, Representative Ed Hanes, Senator Joyce Krawiec, and Commissioner Don Martin. Senator Krawiec commented about her favorite childhood book and the memories that books brought to her. Representative Hanes shared that “reading leads to understanding.” Commissioner Martin spoke of a “print rich environment” and investing in our children. Matt Britt explained that daily reading is critical to improving overall literacy.
Unique to this news conference were the children in a reading circle with their teacher enjoying story time. Their rapt attention, oblivious to people entering and taking their seats, clearly illustrated how enthralling books are to the target age group of the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL). They were asking if they could hold a book, interacting with their teacher, and answering questions about the stories that were being read. It was easy to imagine what their excitement level would be when they started getting books mailed to them from DPIL. Developing life-long readers one book at a time, one child at a time – what an opportunity!
With this launch, Winston-Salem and Forsyth County children from birth to age five who are signed up in the DPIL will receive every month, free, an age-appropriate book mailed directly to them at their homes. “DPIL works in conjunction with educational and literary experts to select specific, high quality books based on a child’s age and the family’s language of choice. (Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc. Press Release dated 12.19.17)”
Sign-up began immediately and based on information shared at the news conference, approximately 1,700 children had already enrolled. Presently, there are 24,000 eligible children in Forsyth County. The age range (birth to age five) is the only requirement for eligibility. Children can be signed up on-line in a user-friendly format. Once enrolled, books are expected to start arriving at the home addresses in about six to eight weeks. In addition to the book, there will be tips for parents as they interact and read to their children, helping them to develop a love of reading.
According to the Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc. Press Release dated 12.19.17, Dolly Parton began her Imagination Library in 1995 for the children of her home county in Tennessee. “She wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. She wanted to ensure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.” DPIL expanded over time and now provides books to children throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
To find out how to sign-up a child in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, contact Smart Start of Forsyth County at 336.714.4349 or visit their website (SmartStart-FC.org).