Imagination Library

CLINTWOOD — Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is coming to Dickenson County.

Participating in the book-gifting program means that every child in the county from birth to age 5, regardless of income, can get a free book in the mail every single month.

They potentially could receive 60 free books before they ever get to school, Superintendent Haydee Robinson told Dickenson County School Board at its May 22 meeting.

Recent studies suggest participation in the Imagination Library program is positively and significantly associated with higher measures of early language and math development.

Introduction of the program is made possible through the contributions from Contura Energy Inc. and the Columbus Phipps Foundation. It begins in August. Robinson said they were thankful for the generous donations, $10,000 from each organization, adding the support should cover sponsorship for about five years.

Since notice was posted on Friday, 122 children in Dickenson County have been signed up.

Parton’s vision in founding the program was to create a lifelong love of reading, prepare children for school and inspire them to dream.

Robinson read from a Parton letter about establishing the program:

“Before he passed away, my Daddy told me the Imagination Library was probably the most important thing I had ever done. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me because I created the Imagination Library as a tribute to my Daddy. He was the smartest man I have ever known but I know in my heart his inability to read probably kept him from fulfilling all of his dreams.

“Inspiring kids to love to read became my mission. In the beginning, my hope was simply to inspire the children in my home county but here we are today with a worldwide program that gives a book a month to well over 1 million children.

“Of course, I have not done this alone. The real heroes of our story are the thousands of local organizations who have embraced my dream and made it their own. They raise millions of dollars each year and wake up every day with a passion to make sure their kids have every opportunity to succeed.”

The first book children receive is the classic “The Little Engine That Could.” In their very last month in the program, children receive the book, “Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come.”

Parton launched Imagination Library in 1995. It has become the premier early childhood book-gifting program in the world, mailing more than 90 million free books in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States. It mails more than one million per month.

Dickenson County children may be registered online at Robinson said the school division also has links on its website and Facebook page.

Eight to 10 weeks after the registration form has been received, books will begin arriving at the child’s home and will continue until the child turns five.

For more information, contact Dickenson County Public Schools at (276) 926-4643.