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Imagination Library enrollment hits new high


       A children’s literacy program continues to expand in Alaska, with 18,029 children now enrolled in 29 Imagination Libraries serving 93 communities. In the past year, alone, Imagination Library has sent 191,910 books to Alaska children.

            New Imagination Libraries were launched in April in Togiak, Yukon Flats, Copper River Valley, and Anchor Point. Delta Junction launched its Imagination Library in May. Valdez expects to start theirs this summer, with Galena and Tanana in process.

            Imagination Library mails a brand new, age appropriate book each month to every child from birth to age 5 who signs up for the program in their community, regardless of family income. There is no charge to participating families. Best Beginnings and local communities raise funds to pay for the books, mailing costs, and family engagement activities. The Dollywood Foundation manages the book delivery system.

            The growth isn’t limited to new Imagination Libraries. Existing ones have ambitious expansion plans, too. Anchorage Imagination Library has committed to reach 8,000 children, Fairbanks North Star aims to reach 3,600 children, Mat-Su to reach 3,500 children, Southeast to reach 2,000, and Greater Kenai/Soldotna to reach 1,000.

            When Best Beginnings took on the mission to expand Imagination in April 2009, there were just five affiliates – in Nome, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Hoonah, Wainwright, and Southeast – with 3,673 children enrolled.

            Best Beginnings’ approach is that Imagination Library is more than a book delivery program. It’s a way to get whole families and communities involved in early literacy – and help to ensure children begin school ready to succeed.

            Thanks to the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, Governor Parnell, and the Alaska Legislature for funds that will help Best Beginnings continue to support Imagination Library all over the state.

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