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updated: 7/3/2012 9:42 PM

Elgin United Way sends books to 5,000th child through Dolly Parton Imagination Library

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  • Dolly Parton Imagination Library book recipients enjoy their books.

    Dolly Parton Imagination Library book recipients enjoy their books.
    Jessica Grommes

United Way of Elgin

The United Way of Elgin is pleased to announce the 5,000th child has signed up for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in the area. Launched in February 2009, the program sends free books every month to children from birth to age 5 in Elgin, South Elgin, Burlington, Hampshire, LaFox, and Pingree Grove. Parents must register their children to receive the free books. Since its launch, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library has sent over 91,000 books to over 5,000 children.

To celebrate, United Way of Elgin is giving away a set of train bookends. To enter, simply post a picture of you and your child reading together on the United Way of Elgin Facebook page: A winner will be randomly selected at the end of July. The bookends are a perfect way for children to store their new library of books -- if they are signed up from birth, they will receive 60 books by their 5th birthday.

"Reading to your children often encourages a love of reading and helps them enter kindergarten ready to succeed," said Lynne Bosley, President of the United Way of Elgin. In a 2011 survey, 61% of parent respondents claimed that they read to their child more often since enrolling in the program, and 93% believe it has helped prepare their children for kindergarten.

The United Way of Elgin and community partners have a goal of reaching 5,500 children by the end of this year. Parents can learn how to register their children to receive books by visiting Registration is as simple as filling out contact information in a short form or online.

Children receive one book per month beginning 8-10 weeks after signup. Each book is age appropriate. The collection of books includes such titles as The Little Engine That Could, The Poky Little Puppy, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Favorite Finger Rhymes, Little Cloud, The Owl and The Pussycat, and Llama, Llama, Red Pajama.

If you would like more information, please call the United Way office at (847) 741-2259 or e-mail Elissa Kojzarek, Resource Development and Special Initiatives Manager at

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library was started by Dolly Parton in 1996 in her hometown, and launched as a national program in 2000. The goal is to foster a love of reading by providing all children, regardless of family income, with a library of books. At United Way of Elgin, the program is currently sponsored by JPMorgan Chase Foundation, EFS Foundation, Hoffer Foundation, Elgin Township, Fideliter Club, and individual donors. The program is one of many Education Initiatives that work to give families the capacity to act as primary caregivers, with particular focus on creating home and school environments where children and youth have every opportunity to become literate, secure, and prepared for productive adulthood.

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