A new program offered at the Flint Public Library – the Dolly Parton Imagination Library – will deliver a new, age-appropriate book to Flint children every month for the first five years of their life. The initiative is funded by a $541,700 grant from the Flint Child Health and Development Fund and the Flint Kids Read Fund of the Foundation for Flint, a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. Preschool children from birth to age five, residing in Flint, are eligible for the program.
“Reading to children from birth is the best way to ensure they’ll be ready to read when they enter kindergarten,” said Kay Schwartz, director of the Flint Public Library. “With this program, Flint children will have lots of books of their very own at home, in addition to the books they can borrow from the library.”
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a book-by-mail program. There are no income requirements, only geographic boundaries. Parents with children living in Flint zip codes can enroll their children at the Flint Public Library.
A kickoff enrollment event is planned for Saturday, November 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the library, located at 1026 E. Kearsley Street in Flint. During this time, Flint residents can sign up to receive free books. Bring children to hear Handsome Harry the Conductor read The Little Engine That Could at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. during story time.
Each month, a new, carefully selected book is mailed in the child’s name directly to the home. Children can look forward to new and exciting reading adventures from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library until they turn five years old, as long as they remain a resident of Flint.
Positive early childhood exposure to books can help improve children’s oral language skills and readiness for school. Research shows that children with books in the home and who are read to frequently do better in school than children in bookless homes.
“The simple act of reading with children during preschool years gives them the biggest boost toward a successful education,” said Kathi Horton, President, Community Foundation of Greater Flint. “This grant fits the grant-making strategy of the Flint Child Health and Development Fund. Thousands of donors have contributed to the fund, and we are thrilled that through their support, we are able to provide this grant for the Imagination Library in Flint.”
The Imagination Library was founded by Dolly Parton and operates in 2,000 communities and four countries. Other project partners in the Flint initiative are the Flint and Genesee Literacy Network, Flint Community Schools, Genesee Intermediate School District, Hurley Children’s Hospital, Michigan State University, United Way of Genesee County and University of Michigan-Flint.
To learn more about how to register your children, contact the Flint Public Library at 810-249-2569.