The Bradley County Imagination Library program will benefit from an Amazon donation to the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation.
Amazon’s $25,000 donation is being divided among the Tennessee counties that have distribution centers.
Locally, $6,225 will go to the program, according to coordinator Jaynese Waddell.
In Bradley County, the program is run through the local United Way.
“We value literacy. We see the impact Imagination Library can have,” Waddel said.
Waddell said the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation had applied for a grant from Amazon for the donation.
The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation was formed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to make the program available to every county in Tennessee. The foundation now pays half of the cost, while the local charities overseeing the program cover the rest.
Waddell said the local United Way writes grants and accepts donations to pay for their portion of the books.
The program is open to children birth to age 5. The child receives an age appropriate book each month.
“So its a potential of 60 books if you get in on it when you are born,” Waddell said. “Tennessee is the only state in the Union that has a program in every single county.”
A child can be registered for the free program anytime before their fifth birthday.
There are 2,700 children in the program in Bradley County.
“According to the 2010 census, we’re a little under 6,000 kids potentially that are in that birth to 5 age range,” Waddell said.
Imagination Library was originally started by Dolly Parton.
“Dolly Parton actually started Imagination Library in her hometown of Sevierville,” Waddell said. “Dolly did it because she saw the effect illiteracy had on her family. In fact, her own father never learned how to read, and she saw how detrimental that was to his success.”
Each county keeps up with children and addresses through a database provided through the Dolly Parton Foundation.
Waddell said Parton’s foundation has also negotiated a discount with certain publishing companies to get the books at a lower rate.
Book are delivered directly from the publisher to the child. In cases where an addresses changes, the nonprofit overseeing the local program will pick up the books and make sure they get to the children.
To enroll a child in the program, visit http://www.unitedwaybc.com or contact Waddell at 479-2020.