July 2019 County Connection Newsletter



Happy Summer! As I hit the half year mark serving as GBBF’s President, I have enjoyed getting to meet the affiliate Imagination Library programs across the state and the volunteers, you, who make it happen.

It has been great to see so many of you attending the Regional Roundtable events. Many of you have shared with us that these events have been highly beneficial in bringing new ideas and innovations to the Imagination Library program. If you haven’t attended one yet, we have two more Roundtable events this year. We will be in Martin, TN on July 23 and Knoxville, TN on July 30. Click here to register to attend.

GBBF has some exciting announcements—new team members and news around September celebrations. This year, we are expanding Tennessee’s Imagination Library Week into a month-long celebration of Tennessee’s Early Literacy Month. Keep reading for more information and the order form for give-aways! 


Introducing Lauren Tate & Allison Grimenstein

We are excited to introduce the two newest members of the GBBF team, Lauren Tate, GBBF’s Early Literacy Specialist and Allison Grimenstein, GBBF’s Enrollment Coordinator. Lauren and Allison joined the GBBF team in May. 

Lauren Tate is serving as GBBF’s Early Literacy Specialist. In this role, she researches, creates and communicates early literacy resources to support caregivers served by the Imagination Library and other GBBF initiatives. Lauren is here to help you in creating early literacy content to push out to families. She recently served as an Early Literacy Coach with the TN Department of Education, and taught early literacy intervention for almost ten years in the public school setting. She recently earned her doctoral degree in education from The University of Memphis. Lauren resides in Rutherford, TN and will be traveling with the GBBF team to visit affiliates and partner organizations. Lauren can be reached at Lauren.Tate@tn.gov

Allison Grimenstein is serving as GBBF’s Enrollment Coordinator. In this role, she manages the data entry and reporting of Imagination Library enrollments from GBBF’s statewide partnerships. Allison will also manage address change requests and communicate that information to each Imagination Library Database Manager. Allison can be reached at Allison.Grimenstein@governorsfoundation.org


Tennessee’s Imagination Library Week Expands to Tennessee’s Early Literacy Month

Join us in celebrating ALL efforts to strengthen early literacy in TennesseeTennessee-Early-Literacy-Month-1.png

As you know, previous Governors have proclaimed the third week of September as Tennessee’s Imagination Library Week. This year, we are expanding Imagination Library Week into Tennessee’s Early Literacy Month to be celebrated throughout the month of September, proclaimed by Governor Bill Lee. During September, we want to highlight all of the early literacy efforts that you are doing in the community as well as GBBF’s other initiatives such as Storybook Trails and the Summer Mobile Book Buses. During Tennessee’s Early Literacy Month, we will still celebrate Tennessee’s Imagination Library, but we encourage you to celebrate throughout the month. As always, we encourage you to host events in your county to raise awareness of Tennessee’s Imagination Library and boost enrollment of your county program. We have exciting ideas planned and great marketing items to send you to help in promoting your events.  Read more below to find out what activities are in store.


Marketing Give-Aways: Enrollment Brochures Back in Stock!

Click here to order the below marketing materials and give-aways.

[For Internal Use Only]

  • Enrollment Brochures: Back in Stock! 
    ***Note: To meet yours and our inventory needs, this temporary run of brochures only includes Dolly’s photo on the front cover. The new design is also based on the Dollywood Foundation’s new branding guidelines, as announced at the Homecomin’ conference. We will be reprinting the brochures with Governor Lee’s photo in early 2020.
  • Reading Rubber Ducks
  • Magnetic Owl Bookmarks
  • Activity Books (limited quantity)
  • I <3 TN’s Imagination Library Stickers


TN’s Early Literacy Month:
How to Celebrate on Social Media– #GotCaughtReading & More!

During September and Tennessee’s Early Literacy Month, we want social media to be full and loud of #TNEarlyLiteracyMonth posts. Additionally, we are launching the third annual #GotCaughtReading social media campaign. Start spreading the news in your county to encourage participants to post photos on social media of them reading with children. Our goal is to beat last year’s record of 500 posts on social media!Copy-of-gcr-post-4.png

  1. Share one of our #TNEarlyLiteracyMonth posts on your personal, business or organizational social media accounts.

    a. Choose any of our posts to share each week in September. Be sure to tag Governor’s Books from Birth and use the hashtag #TNEarlyLiteracyMonth.
  2. Encourage caregivers to log the number of minutes they read with children during TN’s Early Literacy Month. We hope everyone will participate, so we can share the total number of minutes read across the state during TN’s Early Literacy Month!

    You can log your minutes using this link http://bit.ly/gbbfreadingpoll2019 or by answering our poll question pinned to the top of our Facebook page
  3. Participate in the third annual #GotCaughtReading social media challenge.

    Post a picture or video of your little ones or yourself reading. Tag Governor’s Books from Birth and use the hashtag #GotCaughtReading. More details about the #GotCaughtReading challenge can be found here or by downloading the document below.

Click here to download draft social media posts to share during September. 

**We will be sending out additional graphics in late July.


Join the Tennessee Imagination Library Facebook Group

Don’t forget to join the TN IL Facebook group for updates, announcements, and weekly social media content that you can use on your own county social media outlets. This group is for Imagination Library staff, board members and volunteers only. It is not open to the public. Click here to join the group. Email Claire Jones if you have any questions on accessing the group.


Department of Human Services Partnership Update

In 2016, GBBF began an Imagination Library (IL) enrollment partnership with the TN Department of Human Services (DHS), offering IL enrollment to every age-eligible child served by DHS’s ChildCare Certificate and Families First programs. Over the last 3 years, 26,518 children have been newly enrolled in the IL program.  These enrollments have been transferred to each county’s BOS affiliate based upon the child’s address and noted as a DHS enrollment in the Additional #4 field in the BOS. The children enrolled through this partnership are some of our state’s most at-risk and their families tend to move frequently.  

In an effort to better manage these frequent address changes and to offer support to these families and the childcare centers that serve them, we have established a separate Book Order System “BOS” portal for the children enrolled through DHS. This new enrollment process began in April 2019 and is managed by a new GBBF team member, Allison Grimenstein. Beginning in April, all new IL enrollments from DHS are now placed into the new DHS/BOS portal and not transferred into your county’s BOS. This is similar to how enrolled children in Foster Care have been managed since 2011.

Should you receive an address update for a child that you do not see in your BOS, but is flagged in the system as a duplicate, indicating the GBBF/DHS affiliate, please send this information to Allison. We will be tracking the number of children enrolled through this partnership in each county and can provide that information to you monthly if desired. Keep reading for more BOS assistance regarding address updates.


BOS Tips/Reminders

During enrollment of a child, the entry is flagged as a duplicate but does not appear in your county’s BOS list? Or You have an address update for a child you do not see in your BOS child list?

This child may have been enrolled through either GBBF’s partnership with DHS or while in state custody/foster care through GBBF’s partnership with the TN Department of Children’s Services (DCS). Here’s how to check:

  1. If the parent/grandparent/guardian is not an adoptive or foster care parent, 
    1. The child most probably was recently enrolled through the DHS partnership and is listed in the separate DHS BOS portal.
    2. Please reach out to Allison Grimenstein at allison.grimenstein@governorsfoundation.org to give her any updated address information or pass along any book delivery questions.
  2. If the parent/grandparent/guardian is a new adoptive or current foster care parent, the enrollment and address updates will need to be first handled by the Department of Children’s Services.
    1. The label on any IL book received by children in the Foster Care system will only include the first initial of the child’s last name. Due to privacy reasons, the DCS team strips out a child’s full name during enrollment.
    2. Gwen Ryan manages the BOS for DCS and can assist with issues encountered related to a child in state custody that is enrolled in the IL. Her email address is gwen.ryan2@tn.gov.

When an IL enrolled child is adopted from Foster Care, they are deleted from the DCS BOS during the month following the official adoption and then will need to be added to your county’s BOS as a new enrollment by the adoptive parent with their new name and permanent address.  You will want to mark “No Welcome Book” if you know they were previously enrolled through DCS to avoid sending an additional copy of The Little Engine That Could.


County Spotlight: Great Examples of Partnership Messaging

Below are some great examples of messaging the TN IL public-private partnership with GBBF and the Dollywood Foundation’s role. This language helps explain the funding model to encourage donations and raise public awareness while clarifying the role of the Dollywood Foundation. Click here to visit the IL Directory on the GBBF website to reach out to these counties for assistance.

“Affiliates, though, such as the Imagination Library of Lincoln County, must shoulder the bulk of costs. Established here in 2005, just 10 years after Dolly launched the effort, the Lincoln County affiliate partners with the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation to help pay the cost of the books and mailing…”