A Decade of Imagination Celebrated in Monroe County

March 7, 2014

         Imagination is a powerful force. It can take you to any land in the world, or perhaps to any land not of this world. It transforms backyard tree-houses into fortresses, bicycles into bold Arabian stallions, and unassuming oaks into slumbering (but still quite deadly!) beasts. Why, the imagination can even breathe life into seemingly nothing, whether it be a dull afternoon in a house, trapped by thunder and lightning and rainfall, or even the simple words or illustration on a page of a beloved book.

            Little wonder, then, that books are wondrous tools. Picture books, weighty novels, chapter books for beginning readers… It does not matter. Each and every one is a gateway to the timeless, mystical realm known as Imagination, a paperbound workshop where adventures, magical spells, and talking steam engines and teddy bears are crafted.  

            But in order to do that, books (and the chance to wield the power of Imagination they hold) must first be read.

            This is part of the mission of the Monroe County Imagination Library: to share the power of books with a new and upcoming generation of happy readers. 

            But the Monroe County Imagination Library, itself a glowing member of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Tennessee, does far more than simply pass out books. It provides books to the Monroe County’s children from birth to age five, and all without cost to their families! Yes, these books are free. And should a little one be signed up for the program at the very beginning of his or her life, that child will have a library of sixty high-quality books by the time he or she is taking the Big Step into Kindergarten.

            And it has been doing so for ten years.

            To celebrate both the anniversary and the good work done over the past decade, the Monroe County Imagination Library’s partners—The Sweetwater Education Foundation and the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation—held a reception at the Sweetwater City Schools Administration Building on January 15. Several guests, both young and old, enjoyed cakes, cookies, and door prizes, and mingled amongst a wide-variety of books—books included in the Imagination Library’s reading list, as it so happens. Sweetwater Mayor Doyle F. Lowe, County Mayor Tim Yates, Sweetwater City Schools’ Director Melanie Miller, and the Sweetwater City Schools Board’s Chairman Janie Dacus joined the festivities, as did more than a few librarians, parents, and supporters, as well as children who have enjoyed the blessings of the Imagination Library.

            For it is children who are the focus of the Imagination Library and its dedicated crew.

            “[The Imagination Library] is a wonderful program for children,” said Cynthia Crane, a member of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation. “We hope that children will improve their reading skills. We hope they will develop a love of reading that will hold them the rest of their days.”

            Donna Canada, who has helped spearhead the efforts of the Imagination Library in Monroe County for many years, agreed.

            “I think [the Imagination Library] is a wonderful investment in the lives of children,” she said. “It gives them the opportunity to develop a love of reading, and it helps prepare them for Kindergarten.”


To read more of  Tulli Cole's story from the January 24th issue of the Monroe County Buzz, click here