Sampson County Partnership for Children, the Smart Start Network and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are working together to bring books to North Carolina’s youngest children through funding provided by the N.C. General Assembly.
During the 2017 legislative session, North Carolina state lawmakers included $3.5 million in the first year of the project 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. The statewide effort will begin by serving 98 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Because the program is offered by zip code, the initial launch will cover 85 percent of NC zip codes expanding to cover every county by the second year.
“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.”
The Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program for children from birth to age 5. 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. This is accomplished by providing the gift of a specially selected book delivered right to a child’s home each month at no cost to the family.
“Through the provision of this funding, our North Carolina legislators demonstrate their understanding of the importance of developing an early love of reading for children’s success in both school and in life,” stated Dr. Victoria Byrd, the executive director of the Sampson County Partnership for Children. “For Sampson County, the newly allocated funding will provide a free monthly book to 1,000 children during the first year and fund an additional 1,000 children during the second year of the project. We are very grateful for this legislative funding and look forward to serving many children.”
The only qualification for the program is that the child be under the age of 5. Simply go on Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library website and download the short application, or visit the Partnership for Children office at 211 W. Main St. in Clinton and request an application. Once the application is processed, the child will begin receiving age-appropriate books each month through mail delivery to their home or post office box until the child turns 5 years old.
“The legislative funding of this project means there is no cost whatsoever to the family,” Byrd said. She went on to say that during the recent Court Square Street Fair event, over 160 children were enrolled in the program.
To find out more about the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and to check availability and register a child, visit the website Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information regarding the programs available through the Sampson County Partnership for Children, contact Dr. Victoria Byrd at 910-592-9399 or visit the SCPFC website at scpfc.org.