Warm House Teams Up With Imagination Library

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
The WARM House is sponsoring a local chapter of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program, offering a free children’s book, once a month, to all children in Benton County from birth to five years of age. Imagination Library was founded by Dolly Parton in 1995 to inspire a love of reading and learning from a young age. It started in Parton’s home, Sevier County, Tennessee, and is now an international organization.
“The WARM House Board approved partnering with this program two or three months ago, and then we had to work with the Imagination Library regional director to get it going,” said Sue Stevens, Warm House Board member, and contact point for the public and with Imagination Library. “As a sponsor, the Board has to pay $2.10 per book distributed, per month, per child. We have looked at a five-year plan, and it looks like we will be in good shape to budget that. If we need fundraisers after that, we will plan some events. And, anyone who wants to make a monetary donation may do so.”
Stevens said that the Board wanted to plan a Kick-Off event in the Warsaw Community Building, with a reading and refreshments. However, COVID-19 makes such a gathering unsafe at this time, and publicity will be put on Facebook Warm House, radio and other media.
“Parents or guardians can visit Https://imaginationlibrary.com to register their children online for this program (recommended at this time), and paper forms will be made available in the future at many locations,” said Stevens. “Eight to ten weeks after a registration form has been received, books will begin arriving at homes and continue monthly until a registered child turns five, or moves out of the covered area. At this time, a child who is registered before the end of April will receive the first free book in June.”
Dolly Parton was inspired to start this program by her father who couldn’t read or write. Her first book order totaled 1,760 books. Since that time, the Imagination Library has begun a partnership with The American Printing House for the Blind so that audio versions of children’s books can be created for children with visual impairments. Some books are also being made in Braille. On her website she states that “I have not done this alone. The real heroes of our story are the thousands of local organizations who have embraced my dream and made it their own. They raise millions of dollars each year and wake up every day with a passion to make sure their kids have every opportunity to succeed.”