LITERACY IN LINDALE: Dolly Parton partners with East Texas library to encourage reading

Local News

Dolly Parton, the woman, the legend, the philanthropist.

“I created the ‘Imagination Library’ as a tribute to my daddy, he was the smartest man I’ve ever known, but I knew in my heart his inability to read probably kept him from seeing all his dreams come true.”

Dolly Parton

Imagination Library is a non-profit organization that delivers books to children under the age of 5, all around the world. They have mailed out about 130-million age-appropriate books since 1995. And some of those books have shipped right here to East Texas, thanks to an ongoing partnership with Lillie Russell Memorial Library in Lindale.

“I think it has an enormous impact, just because reading is so paramount to the success of the child in school,” said the libraries director, Carrie Custer. “Right now we have 563 children enrolled in the program and we’ve graduated over 300 hundred children out of the program.”

640 children are also enrolled in Rusk County thanks to the Kiwanis Club of Henderson. They partner with UT Health Henderson to offer the program to new parents, even sending them home with their child’s very first book.

The program gives children a unique opportunity to build their library inside their own home.

“It is fun and we have great stories and great success stories from parents and caregivers and how it’s built the library for their children and how its helped them be successful in reading,” said Custer. “Plus they love getting something in the mail each month that’s addressed just to them.”

It’s a fun piece of mail that is preparing children across the world and locally for the future.

The program in Lindale is made possible by a single donor paying for all of the postage of each book every month. They say they could use more sponsors to make sure the program keeps going.

If you would like to help, you can call them at 903.882.1900 or stop by at 200 East Hubbard Street in Lindale.

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