2015 Red Wagon Award
WV Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is the recipient of the 11th annual Red Wagon Award.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in West Virginia,under the direction of Robin Taylor, has mailed over 1.2 million books to children across West Virginia since being launched in June 2007.
Their mission is to provide children and families the materials they need, directly to their homes, free of charge, to instill a love of reading in children before they enter a formal school system.
The vision of the West Virginia program is to raise emergent literacy skills, creating literacy rich environments, no matter the social-economic status.
Gayle Manchin proudly says “Imagination Library” exemplifies its name: it provides a personal library of books for children from birth to 5 years of age, which begins to build the “imagination” of a child from birth, establishes a bond with family members who can read the books to the child, and it builds within the child a love for reading while also letting that child know how very “special” he/she is to be receiving this wonderful gift every month. Imagination Library gives to children a “world” they would probably not know otherwise---what a special gift!!
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library provides all Five Promises to children. Through Caring Adult partnerships that have been forged in the active Imagination Library counties, organizations work tirelessly to reach parents, teach them how to engage with their children using Imagination Library books, and also supply activity sheets to parents and teach them how to create literacy events in their homes.
Many organizations within active counties host story hours or literacy events where children hear a story, complete activities based on the book, and parents are given activity sheets to take home. Children are also excited and comforted in the fact that these books are mailed directly to them at their homes, with their names on the mailing labels. It gives children a sense of ownership and a Safe Place.
Fortunately, at the very beginning of the program in West Virginia, Robin Taylor forged a partnership with the WV Women, Infant and Children’s program through WVDHHR. At each visit to a WIC clinic, parents are continually educated about health and nutrition for themselves and their babies providing the Healthy Start. WIC representatives in active Imagination Library counties explain the program to parents and explain the importance of reading from birth. The parents then register for the program, and their child receives their first book, “The Little Engine That Could.”
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library provides An Effective Education to children with a book each month to call their very own. By having a literacy rich environment, children have a better chance of being successful readers, which is the foundation to a solid education.
The West Virginia Imagination Library program began the WV League of Extraordinary Teens program in 2010. The Opportunity to Help Others is offered to high school students in active counties, encouraging volunteerism in their public libraries. These students volunteer a minimum of 20 hours a year in their library, and must include registering for the Imagination Library program, and if needed in their area, tutoring children in reading. Although the program is no longer celebrated at the end of school each year, many of the public libraries still utilize teen volunteers.
For additional information: Robin Taylor, Director
Phone: 304-542-3209, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , Website: www.imaginationlibrary.wv.gov