Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has been part of the Blackford County landscape since Kay Schrope started the program in 2006 through the Blackford Community Foundation and the United Way.
Schrope, a retired elementary teacher, saw the need for better reading skills in her young students. And she knew a love of reading had to be fostered before children began kindergarten. She also knew that many families did not have books to read to their children.
When she read about Dolly Parton’s program she saw it as a means of getting books into every child’s home in Blackford County, Indiana. She just knew the children would pester their parents to read the books to them.
Each child in the Dolly Parton program receives a free book each month. The books are carefully selected for the age of the child and mailed directly to the child’s home. The books are provided until the child reaches his or her 5th birthday.
Since the program began, 348 children have “graduated.” Presently there are 463 enrolled in the program. Every child in Blackford County from birth to age 5 is eligible.