Thanks to United Way, Imagination Library Begins New Chapter

PUTNAM COUNTY, IN — Imagination Library is back! After a year of being ‘on hold’, the Friends of the Putnam County Public Library’s Imagination Library program will resume once again thanks to a $25,000 grant from the United Way of Putnam County. The program allows any Putnam County child between the age of birth to five to sign up and receive a free book every month.

Last year, the Friends of the Putnam County Public Library announced a pause to its Imagination Library program due to a lack of funding as COVID restrictions twice-prevented them from hosting their annual Touch-a-Truck fundraising event. The latest United Way grant means children can enroll as soon as the Friends of the Library reactivate their membership with Imagination Library’s national chapter, which could come as soon as late April, though the first books won’t be hitting mailboxes until early summer.  Currently, 678 children are enrolled in Imagination Library in Putnam County, these children will not need to sign-up again, but should watch their mailboxes this summer!

“The Friends of the Putnam County Public Library are beyond appreciative to the United Way for this grant.  We are eager to get the ball rolling again, ensuring that Putnam County children experience the love of reading.  Since our start in 2011, we have mailed 85,780 books.  We are grateful that the United Way sees such value in what we are doing, allowing Putnam County children to be ready to read when they go to Kindergarten, and more importantly, making the comfort of a good book a reality, in what has been a challenging year for many children,” stated Cathryn Ensley, chairperson for Imagination Library of Putnam County and Friends member. 

As COVID-19 continues to create challenges for families across our community, we cannot forget the impacts the pandemic is having on our youngest residents. Support for children’s education and mental health will be a priority over the next year in Putnam County and across the nation, as it is reported that children are experiencing increasing levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

The United Way is confident that programs like Imagination Library support children by providing monthly reading materials and building the child’s home library. A key indicator of educational success is the ability to read by age six, and the access to books that the Imagination Library provides is invaluable to this goal. Started in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has, to date, sent out over 150 million free, high-quality books around the world to children, regardless of their family’s income.

Families may sign-up for, and learn more about Imagination Library of Putnam County at https://imaginationlibrary.com/usa/affiliate/INPUTNAM.  Questions about Imagination Library of Putnam County may be directed to Cathryn Ensley, chairperson of Imagination Library at [email protected]