‘Early literacy matters’

WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) met recently at the Wilmington Public Library to strategize about their work for the upcoming year. With only 56% of eligible children enrolled in the program, the committee is focused on increasing enrollment and getting the word out about the program.

“We are proud of our current level of enrollment, as we look at other counties across the state,” said Karen Long, volunteer coordinator of the Clinton County DPIL. “The committee set the goal of 75% enrollment by the end of the year. During the meeting, it was easy to see the passion that everyone in the room has for giving the children in our county greater access to books. We all know that access to books will help prepare them for kindergarten and help develop their early language skills.”

There are diverse groups from around the county represented on the DPIL committee including ATSG, Kiwanis, the Blanchester Chamber and Library, Sabina Library, Clinton County Developmental Disabilities, Community Action and Head Start, the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center, Laundromat Libraries and the Clinton County Literacy Foundation, Job and Family Services, the Ministerial Association, and the Clinton County Foundation.

The group is working hard to partner with local businesses, preschools, and other agencies to help them get the word out about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. If you’re interested in having a poster and/or informational brochures and flyers available at your organization, you can reach out to Karen Long at [email protected] You can find information on FB at Clinton County Dolly Parton Imagination Library and here – https://ohioimaginationlibrary.org/.

“We know that early literacy matters,” Long said. “We know that if a child is read to, they will know more words as they enter kindergarten. There’s a significant gap between kids who are read to and kids who aren’t. Kids who are read to know a lot more words! That’s where the Imagination Library comes in! Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library provides high quality age-appropriate books to children between birth through age 5. Kids enrolled in the program get a free book mailed to their home every month. We’re so excited to get more kids enrolled!”

Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation has mailed well over 100 million free books in Australia, Canada, The Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom and the United States.

The Imagination Library mails more than 1.4 million high-quality, age-appropriate books each month to registered children from birth to age 5. Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading, inspiring them to dream. The impact of the program has been widely researched and results suggest positive increases in key early childhood literacy metrics. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. All Ohio counties joined the project in the early months of 2020.

The DPIL Committee: Back Row left to right: Kym Parks, Kristy Rudy, Joe Knueven, Amanda Johnson, Ron Johnson, and Holly Burgess; Front Row left to right: Reagan Day, Nicole Rodman, Karen Long, Dorothy Cambell, Peggy Dunn, and Kim Adams; Not pictured and in attendance: Joyce Kelly, Alison Belfrage and Jamie Roe.

Courtesy photo