NORWICH – More than 1,300 of the approximately 2,735 children under five in Chenango County have received free books since June, 2015 thanks to the generosity of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, the Chenango United Way, the Norwich Rotary, the Chobani Foundation, the nine public libraries of the county, and several local benefactors.
These 1,300 local children are in good company. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library was created by recording artist Dolly Parton in 1996 to ensure that all children could have access to quality books, regardless of income. It currently provides books to more than 930,000 children in nearly 2,000 local communities across three countries.
The program is open to all children under age 5. Once children are registered for the Imagination Library, age-appropriate books, selected by a blue ribbon panel of experts, are mailed in a child’s name to his or her home each month from the time of birth until the child turns five years of age. These books are the child’s to keep. This means each child in Chenango County could potentially own a library of 60 books by the time they enter school.