Imagination Library 01.20.2010

Written by David Green.

Sitting on the lap of your mother or father, listening to a book being read—it’s a warm, cozy activity that many adults remember with fondness.

Count Dolly Parton among those who treasure the memory. Her Dollywood Foundation has delivered millions of books to children across the country in hopes that they, too, will enjoy reading time on a parent’s lap.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library has arrived in Lenawee County through an effort by the Lenawee Community Foundation.

Any child up through age five is eligible to receive a free hardcover book every month of the year. When a child is enrolled, the Dollywood Foundation first sends a copy of “The Little Engine that Could.” At the end of a child’s eligibility period, “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!” arrives at a child’s home.

Parton’s project started in 1996 in her home area of the Smoky Mountains, but in 2008 she made the Imagination Library a nation-wide effort.

Sue Hammersmith and Shelley Hickman of the Lenawee Community Foundation started organizing a local Imagination Library in 2008. They spoke with service groups and individuals raised $46,000 for initial funding, plus a $5,000 endowment fund. Earlier this month, more than 460 children were enrolled.

The cost of the program is $30 a year for each child, although no families are charged a fee. Donations are gratefully accepted from those able to give.

The Lenawee Community Foundation is working in partnership with the county’s six community libraries, including Morenci’s Stair Public Library, in addition to the county library and its five branches.

Parents can enroll children at any library. The cost of the books are paid through donations in local communities; the books are mailed to children directly from the Dollywood Foundation.

It’s not only the enjoyable experience for children that Hammersmith is looking for through the effort. She also expecting to see academic improvements among children involved.

“We believe the Lenawee Imagination Library can increase school success by helping to prepare children to learn in kindergarten and beyond,” she said.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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