Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library seeking sponsors

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Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library helps get books to local children from birth to age 5 in an effort to increase literacy and interest in reading. (Cullman County Imagination Library)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a program that puts books into the hands of children from birth to age 5 each month at no cost. Beginning in 1995 in Parton’s native Sevier County, Tennessee, the program is now global, operated by local organizations and sponsors. The program is managed by a dedicated team of professionals who ensure that the books are age-appropriate, educational, entertaining and high quality.

Cullman Electric Cooperative Vice President of Member Engagement & Communications Brian Lacy shared his enthusiasm for the program, saying, “Imagination Library is a wonderful program, and we’re glad to have played a part in establishing it in Cullman County. The program is free for children and families because the cost is covered by local businesses and organizations.”

The Cullman Electric Cooperative since 2021 has partnered with other local organizations and provided resource marketing and outreach, as well as acting as a primary financial sponsor for Cullman’s Imagination Library.

“When the idea first came to us in 2021, our marketing and communications team developed a plan to work with The Friends of the Libraries of Cullman County,” said Lacy. “The Friends would be the nonprofit hosting organization, and Cullman EC would be a primary financial supporter while also providing promotional support and help in recruiting other business sponsors.”

The first businesses and organizations that helped financially sponsor the program alongside the Co-op were RE Garrison, Cullman County Schools, Peoples Bank, the Cullman County Commission and Apel Steel. With the progression of the program, more sponsors came on board to help shoulder the cost of the books. These sponsors have not only contributed to the education and development of over 2,900 children in the community – United Way of Cullman County, Rock the South and the Cullman Realtors Association have pledged their financial support, carrying a bulk of the load.

While the cost of the program is nonexistent to the families of the more than 2,900 children who receive books, for the financial sponsors, the cost of the program has recently increased from $25 to $26 annually per participating child. The growth of the program has surpassed any expectations, and only continues to gain traction. The Friends of the Public Libraries of Cullman County estimates that the need for more financial sponsors will arise in the future to assist the program in moving forward.

“The Friends of the Libraries of Cullman County are in need of two to three more donors over the next year to keep up with the increase in demand for the program in our community, said Lacy.”

To learn more or become a sponsor, visit ccimaginationlibrary.com or email friendsofcullmanlibraries@gmail.com. To register to be a part of the program, visit https://ccimaginationlibrary.com/signup.