The Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation announced that more than 5,000 children are actively enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. This figure represents 55% of children ages 0 to 5 living in Cedar Rapids and puts the program on track to mail their 100,000th book by year-end.
Any child under the age of five who resides in Cedar Rapids can participate in Imagination Library. There are no income restrictions whatsoever. Parents or guardians can fill out an official registration form at either of the Cedar Rapids Public Library’s locations, or register via the Library’s website at CRLibrary.org/Imagination-Library.
“Imagination Library affiliates across the country have seen increased kindergarten readiness scores for their program participants,” shared Library Director Dara Schmidt. “It is important to us that we are removing barriers to access books in the home so every child is ready to read upon entering kindergarten.”
Launched in January 2018, Cedar Rapids’ Imagination Library mails one book per month directly to a child’s home from birth until they turn five years old. To date, Library Foundation donors have mailed 70,000 books to children in the area, and nearly 900 kids have graduated from the program by turning five.
“Our enrollment partners are key in our efforts to reach the community’s most vulnerable children,” explained Charity Tyler, Executive Director of the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation. “This year, we’ve partnered with the Cedar Rapids Community School District and others to expand this effort.”
Once registered, the only obligation of the caregiver is to read to their child and call the Library if there’s a change of address. All parents and caregivers are encouraged to register their child for this program. Imagine the impact if every child entering Kindergarten in Cedar Rapids had the same library of 60 books in their home.
The Dollywood Foundation covers overhead by providing the enrollment database, book selection, book ordering and the shipping processes. The Library Foundation, through donor dollars, covers the costs of books and postage for children living in Cedar Rapids. Because of The Dollywood Foundation’s high-volume purchasing, our Library Foundation’s costs are reduced to approximately $2.10 per book per month, or $25 per child per year.
About the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation
The Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation mobilizes community resources and relationships that empower our Library to deliver innovative programs and services. The Library Foundation serves as the vehicle through which private funds are used to enhance the Cedar Rapids Public Library’s collections, programs, and technologies while supporting the Library’s strategic initiatives. For more information, visit CRLibrary.org/Foundation or call 319.739.0411.