Ludlow Rotary continues free books for toddlers

REGION – Imagine if every preschool child received a book in his or her home every month for the first five years of life. Imagine the excitement those children would feel receiving those gifts. Imagine if this sixty-volume library was absolutely free to the children and their families. Since 2012, the Ludlow Rotary has made this a reality in Ludlow, Mt Holly, Plymouth and Cavendish.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a unique program that mails a new, age-appropriate book into the homes of children every month from birth to age five. Dolly’s Imagination Library is designed to inspire the love of reading in children by spending time with family and friends sharing these wonderful books together. Dolly understands that reading is the key to a strong education, and that a child’s imagination is the center of his or her dreams and creativity. By combining the two, this program inspires children to dream more, learn more, care more, and be more.

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“The Little Engine That Could” is a signature book of the Imagination Library. Photo provided

Under this program, more than 500 million free books by recognized authors have been mailed to preschool children, mostly in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. With the help of local educators, a large proportion of children resident in Ludlow, Mt. Holly, Cavendish, Plymouth and parts of Reading are now registered to receive these books each month. The Ludlow Rotary is absolutely delighted with the results to date.

An easy way to register your under-age-5 child, or children, for this program is to visit the children’s section of Ludlow’s Fletcher Memorial Library, where there is a display of Imagination Library books and lots of registration cards. Registration cards can also be obtained from the Ludlow Rotary, PO Box 216, Ludlow, VT 05149. The privacy of the children is strictly honored.

The signature book of the Imagination Library, “The Little Engine That Could,” is recognized by most parents. The books are addressed and mailed directly to the children, much to their delight. The mailings start about six weeks after the date of registration.

As a past president of the Ludlow Rotary said, “Opportunities to do this much good don’t come along very often so we have to give it our best effort.”

We tried and it turned out we could, even though the Ludlow Rotary’s financial resources are stretched at a cost of about $25 per child per year. With research concluding that children that participate in this type of program get a real boost in their performance – doing much better in kindergarten and throughout their academic career – we think this investment in our children is more than worth the cost.

As participation in the Imagination Library increases, the Ludlow Rotary welcomes outside financial assistance in this important work from those that are not immediate members of the families that benefit. You can contribute to the Ludlow Area Rotary Charitable Fund, Inc. (a 501(c)(3) organization), indicating “Imagination Library” in the memo section of your check, and mailing it to the Ludlow Rotary address shown above. So far, the most frequent contributors are grandparents whose children live out of area. For additional information, please contact David Almond at bethalmond@tds.net. For further information about the Ludlow Rotary and its projects, visit ludlowrotary.com.

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