PREBLE COUNTY — The Dolly Parton Imagination Library has launched in Preble County, with enrollment growing to 18 percent of children under the age of five in the first month.
According to United Way Preble County Director Alexa Joyce, Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) is a program which delivers a free, age-appropriate book every month directly to the home of every child in the community from birth until their fifth birthday. By partnering with DPIL, the annual cost per child is just $25.
“The conversation for making this program accessible to Preble County families really began when the opportunity to partner with Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, an initiative that matches 100 percent of local dollars raised to fund books, became available,” Joyce said.
“United Way of the Greater Dayton Area (UWGDA), The Preble County District Library and The Dayton Foundation convened to discuss how we could partner on this program and the fundraising efforts began. With the generous support of Henny Penny Corporation, SVG Motors, The Gratis Eagles Auxiliary, partnering agencies and many community members, we were able to raise the funds to launch in Preble County.
“We continue to work to raise the funds necessary to sustain this program long term. All administrative costs are covered by the partnering agencies in their respective efforts, allowing every donation to go directly to books.”
Enrollment for Preble County launched on March 20, with a Facebook Live reading of a Dolly Parton Imagination Library book by the Preble County District Library. They had other plans for launching this program, including events and engaging activities, that are now on hold due to the current stay-at-home orders. However, they didn’t want to put enrollment on hold and thought this would be a positive program for children and families to look forward to at the current time.
“Studies of the program have shown an increase in both Kindergarten Readiness Assessments and home literacy practices. The model of delivering a new book addressed to the child creates excitement around reading and promotes early childhood literacy in the home,” Joyce said.
Preble County District Library Director Lauren Robinson added, “I am excited that this amazing program is available to children in Preble County. This is a fantastic opportunity to promote reading and instill a love of learning at a young age.”
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library gives any enrolled child a collection of books that is all their own. These are books that the children can keep and reread as they foster their love of learning. According to Joyce, their goal is to share this resource with as many eligible children as possible and ensure that this program is available for children in the community indefinitely.
Families with children under the age of five can enroll today by visiting ohioimaginationlibrary.org/enroll. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) has partnered with American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. (APH) to make many of the wonderful books in her program available in braille and audio format so that young blind and visually impaired children can also benefit from these wonderful books. For more information or any additional enrollment questions, contact Lauren Robinson at 937-456-4250 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about supporting the program, contact Alexa Joyce at 937-456-7174 or AlexaJ@Dayton-unitedway.org
It can take six to nine weeks to receive your first book, so children who will turn five within the next two months should not enroll as they will graduate out of the program before or just after receiving their welcome book. The welcome book is the same for every child regardless of age — a special edition of The Little Engine that Could will arrive at the child’s home addressed directly to the child.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH