What is Imagination Library of Hancock County?
Imagination Library is an early childhood literacy program launched by the Dollywood Foundation in 1995 thanks to the vision and generosity of singer, performer Dolly Parton.
Imagination Library is a program made possible through a partnership of the Hancock County Community Foundation (HCCF) and the Hancock County Public Library (HCPL).
The Imagination Library program will provide an age appropriate book to all qualifying children who are residents of Hancock County. Books are delivered monthly to the home, and in the name, of the enrolled child…in other words, children will receive their very own books.
Books will be free to families living in Hancock County with children beginning at birth thanks to the generosity of our community.
Why Imagination Library?
In 2018, 43 percent of Hancock County children entering kindergarten fell below literacy readiness standards. This data was collected from the Reading Foundation strand of the NWEA, (Northwest Educational Assessment), and the Letter Naming Fluency (LNF) and First Sound Fluency (FSF) scores on the DIBELS, (Dynamic Indicators of Early Learning Skills).
It’s Proven! The An Impact Analysis: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Tennessee, 2004-2014 reports the following:
- Children begin school with book handling skills and an understanding of letter and word concepts.
- In addition to these skills, those such as math scores and cognitive skills are significantly improved with participation in Imagination Library.
- Closing the “language gap” before age 5 is vital for reading success in school. A child’s brain grows to 80% of its adult size by age three, creating a critical window of opportunity for learning words and language.
- Reading experiences shared by children from diverse backgrounds upon entering kindergarten can “level the playing field” and help them develop socialization skills.
- Participants outperform non-participants on kindergarten literacy assessments.
Parents as Teachers (PAT) and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library released results in 2015 from a comprehensive research project that shows how dramatically home environments for early learning can improve when parents engage in learning with their child, at home and with other families, with facilitation by a trained “parent-educator.” The project, supported by the Department of Education, was conducted by Parents as Teachers, one of the nation’s most respected family support organizations impacting more than 240,000 children annually in all 50 states, and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, an innovative book distribution program that provides monthly books to children from birth to age 5.
A FOREVER promise to Hancock County children
Imagination Library is a gift from the community to the children of a community. Although books are free to families, the community bears a financial responsibility.
HCCF is taking the lead role in funding and will work with the community to build a $2 million endowment over five years to cover book expenses and sustain the Imagination Library program.
A $2 million dollar endowment will generate enough funding for 3,500 children to receive 12 books per year EVERY YEAR. That’s 60 books before the 5th birthday! Through careful stewardship, the endowment will continue to produce annual income to provide books for an ever growing population.
The people of Hancock County will be encouraged to invest in the future of our community’s children until the endowment fund is capable of full program support. The Hancock County Community Foundation has committed to enhancing early childhood literacy and improving kindergarten readiness through The Imagination Library program and invites you to secure its future through a gift to the Imagination Library Endowment Fund.
Who is eligible for enrollment?
Enrollment is now open to any child born on or after January 1, 2016 and residing in Hancock County.
Why the incremental implementation?
- Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program dictates only two enrollment strategies: Incremental Enrollment as shown above or Immediate Enrollment of all children from birth to age 5. In 2006, Hancock County experienced a loss of this program when United Way of Central Indiana’s admirable attempt to immediately provide it to all children from birth to age five proved too expensive and unsustainable. Hancock County Community Foundation (HCCF) wants to ensure this does not happen again. Through financial analysis, HCCF has determined that future success is built on a conservative enrollment approach ensuring that by 2020, families of all children born are assured to receive 60 books by their child’s fifth birthday. The majority, if not all of the cost, can be sustained by the income of a $2 million Imagination Library Endowment.
For fun activity sheets that will go along with some of the books you receive from Imagination Library, visit the Parent Resources page here.
For good reading habits, reading tips, and additional resources, visit here.
Gift of Reading
Gift of Reading
What was your favorite book as a child? Maybe it was Pippi Longstocking or The Adventures of Peter Rabbit. Maybe it was The Little Engine That Could. Chances are, you can remember at least one story from your childhood.
In 2018, 43% of Hancock County children entering kindergarten scored below literacy readiness standards. The Hancock County Community Foundation is dedicated to improving kindergarten readiness by inspiring a love for reading from birth.
Imagination Library is made possible through a partnership of the Hancock County Community Foundation (HCCF) who is taking the lead role in securing funding for the program and the Hancock County Public Library (HCPL) who is responsible for enrolling children and placing book orders.
Please consider honoring the avid reader in your life by making a charitable gift to the Imagination Library program and give the gift of reading to Hancock County babies. Imagination Library donations make great holiday, birthday and baby shower gifts. Use the certificate below to tell the honoree about the program!
Click here to give the gift of reading.
Click here for a “Gift of Reading” Certificate.
What is an Endowment?
An endowment is established to benefit a specific charitable agency or organization or program, in this case, Imagination Library. An endowment strengthens the long-term security of the program allowing it to become less reliant on annual fundraising. Because the principal of an endowment remains untouched for all time, the fund provides an ongoing, perpetual stream of revenue to cover the expense of books for children.
What kind of books will my child receive?
Imagination Library books are selected by a qualified committee of The Dollywood Foundation. They are chosen based on their ability to promote self-esteem and confidence, appreciation of art and aesthetics through age appropriate themes and concepts as defined here. The books are of high-quality, many of which are hard-back. Soft-back books include helpful reading tips and activities for parents’ reference.
Can I pay for a specific child?
No, but you can make a gift to the Imagination Library Fund on behalf of all children that will benefit from this program.
How is the expense of books covered and how will funding be secured for the cost of the books?
Imagination Library is a gift from the community to the children of a community. Although books are free to families, the community bears a financial responsibility. Hancock County Community Foundation (HCCF) is taking the lead role in funding and will work with the community to build a $2 million endowment to cover book expenses and sustain the Imagination Library program. An endowment assures the program will be available to Hancock County children for generations to come. The Hancock County Community will be encouraged to invest in the future of our community’s children until the endowment fund is capable of full program support. Until then, HCCF is committed to the program’s success and will provide the financial resources needed to fill funding gaps related to immediate book expenses.
Can I enroll an entire class of students?
No, but you can share the information with parents and encourage them to enroll their children.
Can I enroll my grandchildren?
Yes, but the child can only be enrolled one time whether that be by a parent or grandparent.
When will I start receiving my child’s books?
HCPL will place book orders the first of each month. Delivery of books begins approximately 8 weeks following the book order placement.
How often and where will the books be delivered?
Books are delivered monthly to the home, and in the name, of the enrolled child.
How will I enroll my newborn?
Enrollment forms are available at your local library branch and online. Please return your completed enrollment form to the Hancock County Public Library (HCPL) for processing.
Will the post office forward the books to a new address if my family moves?
Books are delivered via 3rd class bulk mail. Address changes should be submitted to the Hancock County Public Library (HCPL).
Will the program follow my child if we move from Hancock County?
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library dictates that the program is geographically based; therefore, the Imagination Library of Hancock County program is made available only to children who are residents of Hancock County. Those who move are encouraged to seek availability of the program in their new community.
Will the same books be delivered to multiple children in the same family?
It’s possible. If you have twins and enroll both, they will both receive the same books at the same time. Books in the collection are replaced occasionally as determined by the Dollywood Foundation; therefore, it is possible some books will be different for those children born after 2017 from those born in other years. Love and understanding of a common platform of literacy will be shared among children, families, emergency services, schools, medical, and corporate community members. Imagination Library encourages all of Hancock County to be engaged and invested in the future of our children.
Are there bilingual books and books for those with vision impairments included in the collection?
Yes, there are several bilingual books included in the collection. Books are also available in braille and audio format for the blind and visually impaired children.
How many books will my child receive?
Children enrolled at birth will receive 60 books, 1 per month until their 5th birthday.
When will my child receive their last book of the program?
The last book a child receives is on their 5th birthday.
How much must I pay to enroll my child?
The book program is free to families.