SIDNEY — Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was launched in Shelby County in March 2015. Children under the age of 5 enrolled receive a new age appropriate book monthly. The program implementation was led by the Shelby County United Way and the Shelby County Libraries.
The two organizations help fund over 80 percent of the program which has now exceeded $60,000 annually. Through sponsorships or grants, additional funding comes from Sidney Rotary Club, Sidney Kiwanis, Sidney Altrusa, Sidney City Schools, Wilson Health, Monarch Legacy Fund, POWER and the Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.
Enrollment has exceeded expectations with 2,328 children receiving books monthly. Almost seven in every 10 children in Shelby County are benefiting and over 55,000 books have been mailed to a child in Shelby County since the program’s inception.
“Our county is unique in that funding continues to be available for new enrollments and Wilson Health enrolls each child born at the birthing center,” said Scott Barr, Shelby County United Way director.
Children can be enrolled by visiting any of the local libraries in Shelby County or going to www.imaginationlibrary.com and selecting ENROLL MY CHILD.
Parent feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “Thank you for this amazing program. My two-year-old daughter loves receiving her book every month.” “Thank you so much for each beautiful book my son receives. What a fantastic initiative to help instill a lifelong love of books.” “All it takes is that first good book to introduce a child to a love of reading.”
Imagination Library is one of 27 funded programs supported by the Shelby County United Way.
Through the sixth week of the campaign, $422,207 has been pledged towards the annual goal of $1,325,000. Donors can make payroll contributions with participating employers or make a one time or reoccurring donation by visiting www.shelbycountyunitedway.org or text SHELBY to 40403.
The campaign finale celebration will take place Nov. 9 at 11:30 a.m. at the Sidney American Legion with a complimentary hot meal served. The event is open to the public and reservations are not needed.