Russell County Public Library Director Lindsey Westerfield said the goal was to have 30 percent of children in the county under age five signed up within the first year for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program.
A little more than a month since launching the program, Westerfield said signups have already exceeded 300 children, the number set as the one-year goal. As of Thursday, 380 children have signed up for the program.
“We settled on 300 children because that’s really what Dolly wants you to do, reach 30 percent of your under-five population,” Westerfield said. “For us, that’s about 300 kids. We’re so pleased and proud and excited to have reached that goal within about a month and a half.”
The program provides free books to children under the age of five enrolled in the program, which are mailed directly to them monthly.
Children who signed up in April should receive their first book next month. Children who signed up in May should expect their first book in July. Westerfield said there is generally a two-month period between enrolling and receiving the first book.
Westerfield said she’s hopeful that more children will enroll as books begin going out to children in Russell County and parents share the news on social media and word spreads even more about the program.
For those who haven’t yet enrolled, there’s still time. Visit the Russell County Public Library’s website and fill out the form to enroll or stop by the library to get a paper form.
“There’s no cutoff and no deadline,” Westerfield said. “If you haven’t enrolled yet, please do so as soon as possible and as soon as you want. The sooner you do, the sooner the child will begin receiving books at home.”
Westerfield said credit for the success doesn’t just belong to the library, but is spread out amongst multiple community partners that helped make the program possible.
“We could never have done this alone,” Westerfield said. “Up until now, we didn’t have the partnerships and financial support in place to make this program what we wanted it to be. Were it not for the Community Early Childhood Council, the Russell County School District, and especially the Woodland Farms Foundation, we might still not be able to do this.”