Bay Rotary announces ‘Imagination Library’
By Cassandra Favre
Aug 16, 2013, 20:10
On Wednesday, the Bay St. Louis Rotary Club announced the launch of a new program to enrich the literary lives of children age up to five years old in Bay St. Louis and Waveland.
It's called "The Imagination Library Project," founded by entertainer Dolly Parton.
who was raised in a home without books by adults who were unable to read.
She believes that all children should have the advantage of having children's books.
"I'm so happy today to announce that are finally ready to unveil the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to Bay St. Louis, Waveland and- in conjunction with United Way- to the rest of Hancock County," said Darlene Underwood, outgoing president of the Bay St. Louis Rotary Club.
"Parents of all children, born after Jan. 1, 2013, in our Imagination Library communities of Bay St. Louis and Waveland are offered the chance to enroll their child in the program free of charge," said Underwood. "Each child who is enrolled will begin to receive one book a month until their fifth birthday, for a total of 60 books.
"The books are sent at absolutely no cost to the parent or child."
Underwood said the books are selected by Dolly Parton and a team of education experts. Each year, the team meets to consider which books might add to the program. Each book is age-appropriate and chosen for attractiveness and value to the child.
"The Little Engine that Could" is the first book children will receive.
"in communities where the Imagination Library is already active, studies show that children enrolled in the program are better prepared to learn when they reach kindergarten," said Courtney Thomas, interim director, Hancock County Library System.
According to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, parents and family members who have children in the program reads, on average, 75 percent, more to their children than they would have, had a new book not come to their children monthly.
"Research has shown that the more books in a child's home the better their vocabulary and reading development, " said Aletha Burge, director of Community Initiatives at United Way of South Mississippi. "We are here to help the entire community, the Rotary is going to help Bay St. Louis and Waveland and United Way is going to take care of the surrounding areas in Hancock County.
"Every child in Hancock County will have access to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library."
Enrollment brochures can be found in many area physician offices, health departments and businesses. Brochures can also be found at all Hancock County Library locations.
"Nurses in maternity units will be putting sign-up cards in the new mom's hospital discharge bags," said Tom Carlton, spokesman for Hancock Medical Center in Bay St. Louis.
"The nurses can sign them up right then and there or they can fill it out and send it in later."
"The library pledged to take on the task of entering the children in the Dolly Parton database," said Mary Perkins of the Hancock County LIbrary System. "The Library Foundation of Hancock County agreed to collect the funds."
For children born prior to 2013, up to age five, any adult or business may sponsor a child for $29 per year. There is a form to complete and send in with payment.
Completed enrollment forms can be mailed to Imagination Library Fund, 312 Hwy. 90, Bay St. Louis, MS 39520.
For more information, call 228-896-2213 ext. 24 or go online at www.rotarybaystlouis.com.
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library was made possible through the Bay St. Louis Rotary Club and its partners, the Hancock County Library System, the Library Foundation of Hancock County and the United Way of South Mississippi.