Preschoolers were scheduled for a treat on Wednesday at Oak Grove Elementary School with leaders of the Marshall County Imagination Library after Gov. Phil Bredesen had proclaimed September 19-25 as Imagination Library Week.
While Gov. Bredesen read stories to Pre-K students at Crockett Elementary School in Brentwood, Marshall County Imagination Library spokeswoman Peggy Hubbard said she'd be doing the same thing at Oak Grove on Franklin Road.
"We are celebrating with the Pre-K classes at Oak Grove," Hubbard said. "We will donate some books and read while there."
Created in 1996 by Dolly Parton as a gift to children in her hometown, Sevierville, the Imagination Library mails a new, age-appropriate book every month to registered children, from birth until age five -- at no cost to the family. Supporters provide $24 annually for the purchase and delivery of 12 books to one child. That cost is split evenly between a non-profit sponsoring organization in every Tennessee county and a state budgetary allocation administered by the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation.
"Our local Marshall County Imagination Library began in 2005," Hubbard said. "We currently have about 1,000 children enrolled. That means 1,000 books go out each month to Marshall County children. A staggering 42,000 books have been delivered to our children in Marshall County since the program's inception."
Sponsored by Nissan, the state's participation -- with local sponsorships from individuals, their service clubs and businesses -- with the organization founded by Dolly Parton this week celebrates 215,000 children receiving free books and more than 10 million books delivered.
Bredesen said, "The program has changed lives by providing them with tools to create a lifetime of learning, developing their vocabulary and school readiness. Our goal is for every child not currently enrolled to have their own library of books so that they can join the thousands of others who are growing and benefiting from this program."