ROCKINGHAM — Smart Start and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are working together to bring books to North Carolina’s youngest children through funding provided by the North Carolina General Assembly.
During the 2017 legislative session, North Carolina state lawmakers included $3.5 million in the first year of the budget, and $7 million in the second year for the Smart Start network to offer free books through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to children across the state. Imagination Library is a program created to foster a love of reading among children aged birth to five through the gift of a specially selected books delivered right to their home each month.
“I’m thrilled that my Imagination Library is going to be offered to so many children in North Carolina,” stated Dolly Parton, the founder of Imagination Library. “Working together we can help children dream more, learn more, care more, and be more.”
With the state funded grant awarded to implement the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) program, the Richmond County Partnership for Children hopes to reach approximately 1,000 children (in Richmond County) ages birth to five by June 30, 2018. The DPIL, in conjunction with the Reach Out and Read early literacy program, will work cohesively to ignite a passion for reading and help to address and alleviate illiteracy in the county.
“Our state leaders clearly understand how important an early love of reading is for each child’s success in school and later in life,” stated Cindy Watkins, the president of the North Carolina Partnership for Children that oversees the Smart Start network. “Smart Start works in every community to ensure young children have a strong foundation for starting kindergarten – now we can offer this important literacy program to that critical work.”
The statewide effort that will begin in 98 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Because the program is offered by zip code, the initial launch will cover 85 percent of N.C. zip codes expanding to cover every county by the second year.
“We are very excited to have been chosen as one of the recipients of the DPIL grants from the North Carolina Partnership for Children,” said Mamie Legrand, program coordinator-evaluator for Richmond County Partnership for Children. “We strongly believe in early literacy; for today’s readers are tomorrow’s leaders.
Richmond County Partnership for Children will be hosting an open house on Tuesday, November 14, for children and their families to explore information about the new program. The open house is set to take place from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Partnership’s location at 315 S. Lawrence Street in Rockingham. For more information, contact Legrand at (910) 997-3773 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about Smart Start and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library partnership, and to check availability and register a child, visit http://www.smartstart.org/dolly-partons-imagination-library.
For more information, please visit http://www.smartstart.org/about-smart-start.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program for children from birth to age five. The mission of the program is to foster a love of reading in preschool children and ensure that every child born has books, regardless of their family’s income.