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Community Education seeks funds for Imagination Library

Imagination Library, a preschool literacy program for children from birth to 5, was first started by Dolly Parton in 1996 in Sevier County, Tenn., where Parton grew up. It came to Franklin County in 2006, where 225 children currently benefit from receiving one book per month in the mail through being enrolled in the program.

The Franklin County division of the Imagination Library is managed by Community Education in Belgreen, and outreach educator Carla Hutto said she has personally seen how the program has helped children in the county.

“I think reading is the cornerstone of all education,” Hutto said. “If you learn to read, you will be educated – I believe that with all my heart. Reading is just the bedrock of all – if it’s nothing more than reading a sign out on the road or being able to find what you want in a store. We all have to be able to read.”

Communities that want to participate in the Imagination Library must make the program available to all preschool children in the area who want to participate. The community must then come up with funds for the books and the mailing, and they must promote the program and register the children.

Funding, however, has become a problem. This program is free to the participants, but Hutto said the money to fund it has to come from somewhere. Grants have come from the RC&D Council year after year, but Hutto is also hoping for donations from corporations, civic groups and individuals.

It takes $30 per year to supply books for one child. That’s $150 per child for the entire time in the program – just for that one child. So while $30, $100 and $200 donations are appreciated, Hutto said, those funds don’t go very far. She’s hoping to find groups and businesses willing to give large donations yearly to make sure the program continues in Franklin County.

Anyone who would like more information about Imagination Library or who would like to donate can contact Hutto at 256-331-0005.

 

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