By Cheryl McCormack
A book is a device to ignite the imagination. When we read, or are read to, we become superheroes, sports stars, mermaids, angels, grownups and crazy creatures.
What if the joy of reading and the adventures it brings could be bundled up into a monthly gift, delivered to children throughout the entire world?
In 1995, Dolly Parton turned that vision into a reality, when she launched the "Imagination Library" in her home state of Tennessee. Her mission was to foster a love of reading in the lives of preschoolers, and their families, by mailing them a specially selected book each month, up until their fifth birthday.
Parton wanted children to be excited about reading and to feel the magic that books can create. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to childrens’ homes, Parton could insure that every child would be exposed to literature, regardless of their family’s income.
The program received such overwhelming support and praise in the state of Tennessee that Parton began a nationwide, community partnership in the year 2000.
Wilton was one of the first surrounding rural communities to jump on the Imagination Library bandwagon, dating back almost six years to January of 2009. Washburn’s program has been up and running since the spring of 2012.