Imagination Library keeps on growing: A great start to kindergarten readiness

Imagination Library keeps on growingExposure to books and reading helps young children prepare for school and learning. That’s one of the many reasons that Imagination Library is so great – it introduces children to the wonderful world of reading, stories, and the joys of imagination.

Imagination Library in Alaska has just passed several milestones:

  • It is now in 100 Alaska communities, from tiny villages to the largest metro areas. There are 29 local Imagination Libraries, many of them serving more than one community. The most recent additions are Galena and Valdez.
  • Since 2009, when Best Beginnings took on the mission to expand Imagination Library throughout Alaska, more than half a million books – 556,439 to be exact – have been distributed.
  • Each month, the number of enrolled children statewide just grows and grows. As of January 2013, 19,975 children (37% of the estimated 53,996 children in Alaska under age 5) are now receiving books monthly. When Best Beginnings took on Imagination Library in April 2009, there were just five affiliates – in Nome, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Hoonah, Wainwright and Southeast – with 3,673 children enrolled.

More Imagination Libraries are always in the works, with organizing efforts underway in several communities. New communities are always invited to come on board.

Imagination Library mails a brand new, age appropriate book each month to every child from birth to age 5 who signs up for the program in their community, regardless of family income. While there is no charge to participating families, Best Beginnings and local communities raise funds to pay for the books, mailing costs, and family engagement activities. The Dollywood Foundation manages the system to deliver the books to the home.

Best Beginnings’ approach is that Imagination Library is more than a book delivery program. It’s a way to get whole families and communities involved in literacy – and help to ensure children begin school ready to succeed.

Thanks to the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, Governor Sean Parnell, and the Alaska Legislature for funds that are helping Best Beginnings continue to support Imagination Library all over the state.

Portions of this article appeared in the May 2012 and January 2013 Best Beginnings E-newsletter. Please refer to our Content Reproduction Policy if you are interested in reproducing content provided on this website.

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