Imagination Library Week is upon us, and the Morristown-Hamblen Imagination Library Advisory Council has something in store.
This Tuesday, the advisory council is teaming up with the Hamblen County Health Department to sponsor a children’s event from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the community room of the library.
“We’re trying to promote healthy kids,” said Dawn Belson, program coordinator for the advisory council.
At the same time, it will be a promotional event to try and sign up as many kids as possible to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The event coincides with the week, which begins Monday and ends Friday.
Belson said this year will be a bit different than what was done last year.
“This time we’re doing one big event,” she said.
Last year, the advisory council held a series of small events over the course of the week. This time, though, there will be one large event with snacks being provided, courtesy of the health department.
Dolly Parton started Imagination Library in 1995 in Sevier County as a way to promote literacy and the program gives free books to those who sign up until they are 5 years old. The Imagination Library has spread across all the United States and is now in Canada, Great Britain and Australia.
Locally, the program started when the Kiwanis Club of Morristown convened stakeholders to discuss options on how to join up with the program. HC*EXCELL was appointed to develop and facilitate the program.
In 2017, stakeholders decided to explore the option of a long-term standalone entity.
So, the Imagination Library Advisory Council was established under the umbrella of the Morristown-Hamblen County Public Library.
Ann Cranford, chairwoman of the advisory council board, said the program currently has around 2,300 children signed up for the program, which delivers a book a week to a child’s door.
The state has a grant that pays for half of the books, but there are many costs involved to keep the books coming to doors. She said it costs anywhere from $2,300 to $2,500 a month to fund the books.
So, she said they are looking for any donations or sponsorships as well to make sure the books keep getting mailed.
A donation of $60 funds books for five years, Cranford said.
She said for some of these children, it’s a matter of pride.
“Several of these kids, that’s the only thing they have they can call their own,” she said.
There will be a setup in the community room of the library next week and during the event for anyone interested in signing up to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.