Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam present 'The Little Engine that Could,' the 20 millionth book of Tennessee's Imagination Library to 3-year-old Tamera Tynes and her mother Cierra Tynes, at the program's tenth anniversary celebration in Memphis.
“Crissy and I want to congratulate Tennessee’s Imagination Library for 10 years of delivering these wonderful books to our state’s youngest citizens and making a difference in their lives. We also say ‘thank you’ to the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, the Dollywood Foundation and the hundreds of volunteers across all 95 counties that have made this milestone possible,” Gov. Haslam said.
The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) was created in 2004 to give every child in Tennessee from birth to age five access to receiving Imagination Library books at no cost to families, regardless of income. With funding support from the Tennessee General Assembly, foundations, individual donors and corporations, the GBBF matches all funds raised by each county’s Imagination Library affiliate - a public-private partnership unique to Tennessee.
“This program works because it is supported by such a strong grassroots community-driven effort. Our goal is to build a foundation for reading and learning through books to Tennessee’s children and we’re excited to start delivering the next 20 million books,” said Theresa Carl, president, GBBF.
The Imagination Library program can be found in every state in the U.S., as well as in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Tennessee remains the only state with the program in every county.
Studies done in Tennessee reveal that children who have received these books are better prepared for kindergarten, have increased reading skills, a love of reading and enhanced vocabulary upon entering school.