Smart Start launches Imagination Library

Imagination Library

Smart Start launches Imagination Library
December 28
04:00 2017

Lawmakers agreed to spend more than $10 million to bring the program to N.C.

Smart Start of Forsyth County Inc. (SSFC), has announced the arrival of a new program that will allow children in the area to receive free books for the first five years of their lives.

In 1995, Dolly Parton launched her Imagination Library to help children foster a love for reading and make books more accessible to those less fortunate. Through the program, which serves the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, children ages birth to 5 will receive an age-appropriate book in the mail each month free of charge.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers agreed to spend more than $10 million over the next two years to bring Parton’s Imagination Library to communities across the state. According to a press release, lawmakers included $3.5 million in the first year and $7 million in the second year of the state budget for Smart Start to administer the program.

When it came time to vote, several elected officials said, the bill passed without any opposition from either side, a rarity in this day in time.

Rep. Ed Hanes Jr., who grew up in the Boston-Thurmond community, said on Wednesday, Dec. 20, “Education isn’t about some of the things you see in the General Assembly with some of the talks you see in politics, but about programs like the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and it’s about opportunities for us to come together.

“When this came up, I don’t think there was any dissent anywhere because at the base level, we all know that it’s not about us, it’s about the future of these children,” Hanes said.

“Thank you, Smart Start, for being the catalyst to get this going. I’m just honored to be a part of it. It’s the best investment I believe the General Assembly has made in a long, long time,” said Sen. Joyce Krawiec, representative for N.C. District 31.

Sen. Krawiec said when she was growing up in South Carolina, she would travel all over the world by reading books she got from the library. She said children in Forsyth County now have the opportunity to do the same thing.

“They’re going to read those books, and their imaginations are going to go wild. I cannot imagine the excitement those kids are going to have every month to get their own book and be able read it and be able to imagine all the things they’re going to read about. I am so honored to be a part of it.”   

Included with the book each month will be activities and other materials to help parents get involved. Parents also have the option to pick the language of the books.  While answering questions about Imagination Library, SSFC board Chairman Matthew Britt said the only eligibility requirement is age. He said after registering, books will begin arriving in six to eight weeks.

“The sign-up process is simple, it’s easy to access and we want children signed up as soon as possible because the sooner you sign up, the sooner that first book gets there, and that’s what this is all about.”

To register for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, visit or contact Jackie Lofton at (336) 714-4349.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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