AUGUSTA – Dolly’s Imagination Library is a program that sends free literacy materials in the form of books to children ages 0-5, regardless of income. The program is now offered in other countries around the world.
To be eligible, individuals must live in an area where the program is offered. Recently, Augusta became a qualified zip code for the Imagination Library, and parents can now sign up their children to receive free books each month.
Augusta Rotary Club President Tom Burke spearheaded the project.
“The Rotary Club of Augusta decided to sponsor this program when applying for the annual Rotary International grant of $1,500, for which we were approved.” said Burke.
Augusta is only the second in the surrounding county lineup to offer the program.
Reading to children has been statistically linked to improved literacy skills and literacy readiness in children. Basically, when children start reading, they will already be ahead of their peers who have not been read or exposed to books or read by their parents.
“We worked with AISD, Augusta Independent School District, Superintendent Lisa McCane. She was very enthusiastic and supportive,” Burke said. McCane’s letter of support helped with the grant application, he said.
The Rotary Club had 40 registrants before the program launched. The program depends on donations to continue to operate and grow, Burke said.
“The Rotary Club will handle registration, fundraising, book returns, address validation, and website database administration for our zip code areas for the next 20 years and hopefully more. -the. With limited funding, we have agreed to only start with ZIP Code 41002, Augusta, and hope to expand to all of Bracken County, depending on funding,” he said.
Last November, the state decided to approve the program, covering half the cost of each book. This means that books normally costing about $13 at retail are provided to enrollees for $1.05 after the state covers half.
Burke said ZIP Code 41002 has 165 preschoolers, which will cost the Rotary Club $2,000 a year, and all of Bracken County has 635 preschoolers, which will cost the Rotary Club $8,000. $ per year. For approximately $13, a child will receive a book each month per year.
The Rotary Club of Augusta sells its famous “Rotary burgers” at local events and hosts its annual pancake breakfast, which has provided ample funding for their past efforts, but this particular program will need additional help. to succeed and hopefully expand to the whole county in the future.
For donations, go to www.augustarotaryky.com. The Rotary Augusta Foundation is a 501c3 and donations are tax deductible.
To register, you can visit the Rotary website and simply click register, register on the Imagination Library website, or call 513-635-7751 to submit information over the phone.