Wilson Books from Birth will celebrate Imagination Library Week starting Monday.
The program, which began in Wilson County in September 2005, provides a free book to each month to Wilson County children under 5 years old.
“We’re right at 4,500 children currently enrolled in the program, and we have graduated out over 6,000,” said Peggy Simpson of Wilson County Books from Birth. “We have sent out 350,000 books in that time.”
The program is part of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which operates throughout Tennessee.
In honor of Imagination Library Week, community members will read to children at pre-kindergarten classes and childcare providers throughout the county.
“We sort of carry the events or the celebration to the children,” said Simpson.
She said Imagination Library Week is extremely valuable to Wilson Books from Birth.
“It gives us visibility, and it also gives us that connection with the people in the community,” said Simpson. “We believe that reading is so important, and we just try to be as visible as we can.”
Any child under 5 years old in Wilson County can register for the program.
“[Parents can] register online, or we have forms at all the libraries. Also, Summit and University Medical Center register all the children at the hospital before they leave when they’re born,” said Simpson.
The rationale behind Wilson Books from Birth is simple.
“We need to cultivate that love of reading in children,” said Simpson. “What better way to do that than to read to them.”
Gov. Bill Haslam on Friday proclaimed next week as “Imagination Library Week” in Tennessee.
During next week, local Imagination Library affiliates in all 95 counties will work to boost enrollment across the state by bringing awareness of the book program to communities.
This year’s events will celebrate the 215,000 Tennessee children under 5 who currently receive one, high-quality and age-appropriate book delivered to their homes each month at no cost to the family, as well as the fact that more than 18.5 million books have been delivered to Tennessee children across the state since 2004.
“With a presence in all 95 counties, the Imagination Library program plays an important role in educating children across the state,” Haslam said. "During the past nine years, this program has reached millions of children, providing them with books to encourage a love of reading, a lifetime of learning and to increase school readiness."
“The Imagination Library is a one of the best programs we have in Tennessee to promote early literacy with children and families,” Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam said. “I encourage every Tennessee family with children under the age of 5 to enroll their children during Imagination Library Week."
Visit governorsfoundation.org to see a list of Imagination Library events happening across the state. The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation encourages all Tennesseans to enroll their children and support their local county’s Imagination Library with a donation so that more children across the state can receive these books. Donations to each county’s Imagination Library program can also be made at governorsfoundation.org