Whitesburg KY
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Imagination Library expands in Letcher Co.

The Imagination Library is coming to Jenkins, McRoberts, Burdine and Neon during the Jenkins Days Festival.

Members of the Rotary Club of Whitesburg, and the Interact Club of Jenkins High School will be in the Jenkins City Park on Saturday, Aug. 24, beginning at 1 p.m. to register eligible children. Children must be under 5 years of age, and have a mailing address and 911 address of Jenkins, KY 41537, McRoberts, KY 41835, Burdine, KY 41517 or Neon, KY 41840. The program also serves the area of Whitesburg, KY 41858, which was the first area brought in to the program.

The Imagination Library, founded by country music star Dolly Parton in 1966, provides age appropriate books each month to children from birth until their fifth birthday regardless of family income. Parton grew up in Sevierville, Tenn., with parents who did not get much of an education, in fact, her father never learned to read. She had a dream of every child having a library of books in the home. The program is available throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. ‘Dream More, Learn More, Be More, Care More,’ is the idea behind the project.

The Rotary Club of Whitesburg established the Whitesburg Rotary Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation in 2012, to accept donations to fund the Imagination Library. The cost of the program is $30 per child per year. The total cost to fund all eligible children in Letcher County is $44,000 annually. If all the children in the county were funded, 17,604 free books would be mailed to pre-kindergarten children each year.

Research on early literacy programs indicates that there is a high correlation between early exposure to literacy and school achievement, say members of the Rotary Club. Early learning experiences are closely related to not only school achievement, but also to fewer grade retentions, emotional and social wellbeing, and success as an adult. The more limited a child’s experience with language and literacy, the more difficulty he/she will have in learning to read.

The Imagination Library is one way to give pre-kindergarten children a head start on learning and instill in them the love of reading.

For more information on how to make the program available in other communities, contact Margaret Hammonds at 633-8200, Barbara Ison at 634-2106, or Rotary President Larry Whitaker at 855-0070. To sponsor a child or make a tax deductible donation to the Imagination Library, make checks payable to Whitesburg Rotary Foundation, Inc., and mail to P.O. Box 406, Whitesburg, KY 41858.

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