Governor Haslam Proclaims Imagination Library Week September 15-21

September 11, 2013

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Gov. Bill Haslam has officially proclaimed September 15-21, 2013 as “Imagination Library Week” in Tennessee. 

During this 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 the age of five 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."

"During Imagination Library Week, we celebrate the program's accomplishments and strive to enroll even more children across the state," Governor's Books from Birth Foundation President Theresa Carl said. "If children are enrolled at birth, they will collect a library of 60 books before they enter kindergarten, fostering a love of learning and reading which results in their improved long-term educational outcomes. Parents can participate in Imagination Library Week by attending an event, enrolling their children and by making a donation to support the program."

Please visit 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

All of Tennessee’s 407,000 children under age five have access to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and an Imagination Library program affiliate exists in all 95 counties in the state. Begun by Dolly Parton in 1996 as a gift to the children in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., the program mails one new, high-quality, age-appropriate book every month to registered children, from birth until age five – at no cost to families and regardless of income. Over 18.5 million books have been delivered since the GBBF’s inception in October 2004. Approximately $24 annually (or $2 per book) provides for the purchase and delivery of 12 books to one child. With funding support from the Tennessee General Assembly, various foundations, individual donors and a host of private corporate sponsors in each local community, the GBBF matches ($12 per book, per child) all funds raised by each of Tennessee’s Imagination Library program affiliates – a dynamic public-private partnership unlike any other in the U.S.

Tennessee is the only state to have the Imagination Library program in every one of its counties.

An increasing amount of research points to the universally positive impact of having books in the home. Imagination Library participants from both low-income and middle-income households arrive at kindergarten more prepared to learn than non-participants. A 2010 study indicated that simply having more books in the home correlates to a child’s completing more years of formal education. In January of this year, a team of researchers concluded that reading to a child in an interactive style can raise the child’s IQ by as much as six points.

Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out later.  A recent study conducted by the Urban Child Institute determined that programs like the Imagination Library lead to early childhood language development, school readiness, grade progression, on-time graduation and college attendance.

About the GBBF

The Governor's Books from Birth Foundation, in partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, puts free, high-quality, age-appropriate books in the hands of registered Tennessee preschoolers statewide. Its mission is to support the ongoing, statewide operation of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library – assisting all Tennessee preschool children by developing their vocabularies, boosting their school readiness, and fostering a love of learning and reading – and ensuring that high quality, age-appropriate books are mailed once a month directly to these children’s homes, from birth until age five. To learn how to support your local Imagination Library program, or for information about how to enroll a child, visit, or call toll-free 1-877-99-BOOKS.