Bredesen Promotes Imagination Library Week in Tennessee
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 | 5:42am
State Celebrates 50 Percent Enrollment Mark
NASHVILLE – Governor Phil Bredesen is urging communities across the state to celebrate the benefits of books for young children during the third annual Imagination Library Week in Tennessee. Bredesen proclaimed Sept. 14-20 as Imagination Library Week, which is full of events aimed at boosting enrollment and community support across the state.
“Now that one out of every two eligible children in Tennessee is registered in this important pre-kindergarten literacy program, I recognize there are still many more families with young children left to reach," said Gov. Bredesen. "Imagination Library Week is an opportunity to generate greater awareness for the program, and the importance of reading to children regularly as preparation for formal education. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of volunteers in all 95 counties, strong partners like our public libraries, and the generosity of local donors, we are working toward instilling a love of books and reading –at the earliest possible age– in all Tennessee children."
From celebrations and sign-up drives at area public libraries, to fall fests and golf outings, nearly every county in Tennessee has local activities planned for Imagination Library Week. Information on local events is available via the Imagination Library Week section of the GBBF Web site, www.GovernorsFoundation.org/il_week.htm.
The cost of delivering 12 hardback books to one child is $28 annually, split evenly between each county’s non-profit sponsoring organization and a state budgetary allocation administered by the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation®. Meaning, Imagination Library county sponsoring organizations must raise $14 per child, per year.
As part of this year’s celebration of Imagination Library Week, the GBBF is encouraging an ambitious statewide increase in registration of eligible children by offering a financial incentive to county sponsoring organizations. For county programs demonstrating the greatest percent-increase of children enrolled throughout September, the GBBF will pay the county’s half-share –or the full cost– of the October 2008 book order using donated funds from the GBBF’s corporate sponsors. Full payment of October book orders will be awarded to one urban county (Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Rutherford, Shelby), as well as one county from each of the state’s three grand divisions – west, middle, and east Tennessee. The GBBF monitors registration progress for each county’s total population of eligible children (under age five) based on 2000 U.S. Census results.
Created in 1996 by Dolly Parton in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., the Imagination Library mails a new, age-appropriate, hardcover book every month to registered children from birth to age five – at no cost to the family and regardless of income. A blue-ribbon committee of childhood education experts selects the books for the Imagination Library, which includes such beloved classics as The Little Engine That Could, The Snowy Day, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten.
Any child in Tennessee under age five can be registered for the Imagination Library. Fifty-four percent of the state’s eligible population –over 201,000– is currently registered in the program and will receive a free book in October. A core mission of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation is to enroll any and all eligible children in the program. As public awareness for the Imagination Library continues to build, the Foundation also assists dedicated volunteers in all 95 counties with fund-raising efforts to cover half the cost of the books.
To learn more about the Imagination Library program in your county, or for information on how to register a child, visit www.GovernorsFoundation.org or call toll-free, 1-877-99-BOOKS.