The Corbin Public Library will be able to extend its participation in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library until 2025 after being named as a recipient of a $60,000 grant from Pilot Flying J.
The program, which provides children with a brand new book each month through age 5, currently serves more than 900 children in Corbin and Knox County.
The library is currently receiving a grant though the Promise Zone Initiative to fund the program.
“We are about two-and-half years into that five-year grant,” Chadwell said.
The new grant will extend the program by three years.
The Dollywood Foundation, which announced the grant to Corbin last Thursday, said it is part of Pilot Flying J’s $2 million effort to give back to the community in celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary.
“A spirit of community and philanthropy was instilled in our company’s culture from the beginning,” said Meg Counts, community relations and events manager of Pilot Flying J.
Chadwell said the imagination library serves multiple purposes in developing a love of reading in children.
The Corbin Library was chosen because Corbin is the location of Pilot Flying J’s first travel center.
“It just came out of the blue,” Chadwell said explaining there was no application process.
Parents may fill out an application at the library, or online to enroll a child in the program.
Once enrolled, the child will receive a new book in the mail each month.
“I think there is something about kids having their own new book,” Chadwell said.
The original grant and the new grant were secured through the Friends of the Corbin Library.
Diane Mitchell, a member of the Friends of the Corbin Library and retired teacher, said imparting a love of reading and good reading skills sets a child up to be successful in school.
“It is such an important program because reading comprehension is so important in everything we do,” Mitchell said. “It will help build up our children so they are ready for school.”
Founded in 1996, The Dollywood Foundation launched Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a non-profit organization that gifts over a million books each month by mail to children from birth to age five in participating communities all over the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. The Imagination Library celebrated its 100 millionth book this past March in connection with the Library of Congress.