In 2011 Hickory Rotary club donated $15,000 to help launch Imagination Library in Catawba County. In 2012 the club donated $12,500 and in 2013 an additional donation of $15,000. Rotary’s ongoing commitment of financial support continues to provide necessary assistance, and is consistent with the club’s continued commitment to local educational initiatives.
Imagination Library is administered locally by the Catawba County Partnership for Children, a local non-profit agency that works to ensure that children in our county begin school healthy and prepared for success. Children enrolled in Imagination Library are mailed a free, age-appropriate book each month until they turn 5 years old. The program has already reached over 2,300 children in Catawba County since its inception in April 2011.
Dolly Parton originally launched the Imagination Library program in 1996 to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee. Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.
Dolly’s Imagination Library became so popular that in the year 2000 she announced that she would make the program available for replication to any community that was willing to partner with her to support it locally. Since the initial program launch in the United States, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gone from just a few dozen books to nearly 40,000,000 books mailed to children in the United States, into Canada and across the proverbial pond into the United Kingdom! Currently over 1600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to almost 700,000 children each and every month. Already statistics and independent reports have shown Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library drastically improves early childhood literacy for children enrolled in the program. Further studies have shown improved scores during early literacy testing.
The results for Catawba County’s Imagination Library Program have been released and can be viewed in PDF format by using this link: Catawba County’s Imagination Library Program 2013 Evaluation Results.