Library promotes early literacy campaign

Published 3:33 pm Saturday, February 10, 2024

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The Greenville-Butler County Public Library has exciting news for families with young children in Butler County. The library has recently become an active affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, offering an opportunity for children from birth to 5 years old to receive one free book by mail each month. This initiative aims to foster a love for reading at an early age and promote early childhood literacy.

Kevin Pearcey, Director of the Butler County Public Library, explained how this program became available in Butler County. 

“Governor Ivey is a big proponent of reading and literacy,” Pearcey said. “Last year, she set aside $4.1 million in state funding for this. So, the library raises money, and the state matches it. Book distributors and businesses donate and provide huge discounts to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library so they can get the books at a great price. When you put those all together, the cost per book ends up being something like $1.10 per child a month.”

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Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, founded in 1995, has grown into a global program spanning five countries, delivering over two million free books monthly to children worldwide.

Inspired by her father’s struggle with illiteracy, Parton started the program to ensure that every child has access to books, regardless of their family’s income. 

Through the program, she hopes to plant the seeds of dreams in children’s minds, knowing that the magic of books can inspire them to become anything they dream of.

“When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams,” Parton wrote on the program’s webpage. “They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer. The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”

Pearcey expressed his excitement about being part of this initiative and highlighted the positive impact it can have on children.

“This is an excellent program,” Pearcey said. “It helps when children start reading early. If you sign your child up when they’re still a baby, by the time they start school, they could already have 50 or 60 books. This can get books into the hands of children that might not otherwise have access to them.”

To register for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Butler County, residents can visit the library, use the mail-in form available, or register online through the library’s website. The library will also be hosting several events in the future to highlight this program.