Dolly Parton Imagination Library arrives in Logan County

Registration open to provide free books for preschoolers

By Dave Bezusko - Executive Director - United Way of Champaign County

Early childhood literacy in Logan County needs a boost. An alarming percentage of 5-year olds who took the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment last fall were testing NOT READY to enter school.

Bellefontaine – 55 percent

Benjamin Logan – 52 percent

Indian Lake – 33 percent

Riverside – 46 percent

So a coalition of local organizations, educators, libraries and community partners are collaborating to bring the successful Dolly Parton Imagination Library to the children of Logan County. Over the next five years, $150,000 is being invested in early childhood literacy with a goal of enrolling 1,200 Logan County children who will receive a free book in the mail every month until their fifth birthday!

Parents and grandparents can now enroll their children for free online at and first books will be received in January. Registration forms are also available at all Logan County public libraries, day care centers, preschools, the Birth Center at Mary Rutan Hospital, the Logan County Health District WIC offices, local pediatrician offices, day care centers and preschools. Online registration is also available at

The United Way Board of Trustees earmarked $75,000 to the cause earlier this year and began looking for partners to match that commitment. The Lewis and Dorothy Tamplin Trust, Bellefontaine Rotary Club, Vectren Foundation, Logan County Libraries, Belletech Corporation, PNC Bank, and numerous individuals through the United Way campaign all helped to double that initial commitment to make the books available.

“I am very excited to see the positive results and future impact that early childhood reading will have on our incoming students at Benjamin Logan Schools.” said Sally Stolly, Benjamin Logan Schools Curriculum Director and Bellefontaine Rotary President-Elect. “Rotary International has a history of working with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to promote early childhood reading.”

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is proven on a national level to increase early reading, vocabulary skills, and parent-child interaction by providing free books to every child enrolled. Each month, a new, carefully selected book is mailed in the child’s name directly to his or her home to generate excitement and promote ownership.

All Logan County children under age five will be able to accumulate a free library of up to 60 books and develop the skills necessary to be ready for school. This program mails a new, age-appropriate book every month to each child enrolled in the program until their fifth birthday.

Studies from other communities around the country show that children enrolled in the Imagination Library are better prepared for kindergarten, have a larger vocabulary, spend more time reading with parents and guardians, have more books, and visit the library more often than children not enrolled.

“Reading books to children is a priceless gift that takes only a little time each day, but will influence your little ones for life,” said Ariel Harris, Children’s Librarian for the Logan County Libraries.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library has been in existence since 1995. Founded by Dolly Parton herself for the children in her hometown of Sevier County, the program has spread across the country through the help of committed community partners. The program inspires a love of reading by guaranteeing that all children enrolled will have quality books in the home. At no cost to the family, an age-appropriate book is mailed monthly directly to the child from enrollment to their fifth birthday.

Wish to help us or like more information? Call United Way at (937) 592-2886 or visit
Registration open to provide free books for preschoolers

By Dave Bezusko

Executive Director

United Way of Champaign County

Submitted by the United Way of Logan County.

Submitted by the United Way of Logan County.