This year’s Summerfest is going to be particularly spectacular; Dolly Parton is coming to O’Neill. Well, more precisely, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is coming to O’Neill.
With this, every child age 0-5 who resides in the 68763 (O'Neill) or 68766 (Page) zip code areas will be eligible to receive one book a month until age 5 at no cost to the family.
The event will rollout Wednesday, July 17, during the Painting of The Shamrock sponsored by O'Neill Men's Club at 5:30 p.m. at Fourth and Douglas streets.
Local board members will be on hand with sign-up sheets and will be happy to answer any questions.
Free books also will be available to the first 50 children who sign up. After Wednesday, sign-up forms will be available at O’Neill Public Library and at various locations throughout O'Neill and Page. Those wishing to sign up online will be able to do so by logging on to imaginationlibrary.com.
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library was launched in 1996 in Sevier County, TN, as a gift of encouragement for the children of that region. In 2000, the organization began a national replication effort and in 2005 the program went international. By 2010, Parton presented her 25th millionth Imagination Library book, and by 2016 the program was sending 1 million books a month. As of June 2019, the program had distributed 122,166,249 books.
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library program stands out among early-literacy efforts in a number of ways. Each year the esteemed Blue Ribbon Book Selection Committee, a special panel of early childhood literacy experts, is responsible for reviewing hundreds of potential titles for inclusion in the library. Recent studies suggest participation in the Imagination Library is positively and significantly associated with higher measures of early language and math development. The books selected are age-appropriate, high quality titles. Braille books are available and many titles are dual language.
Parents wishing to enroll their children may pick up an enrollment form once additional locations are added in the coming months. On-line sign-up also is available at imaginationlibrary.com.
The local Dolly Parton program is being sponsored by O’Neill Community Foundation Fund (OCFF). Additional sponsors include O'Neill Friends of the Library, Alpha Delta Kappa women’s sorority and O’Neill Rotary Club.
Any questions may be addressed to one of the local OCFF board members: Tracy Dennis, Nicole Sedlacek, LaDonna Werth, Karen Scott or Jeanne Crumly. Anyone wishing to contribute to the event can do so through OCFF.