Sponsorship of Hamblen County IL Moves from HC*EXCELL to Newly-Created Council

The Hamblen County Imagination Library has officially transitioned from sponsorship under HC*EXCELL to the Morristown Hamblen Imagination Library Advisory Council. The newly-formed council signed documents Wednesday formally taking sponsorship of the Imagination Library program.

“I’m just delighted,” said Anne Crawford, chairman of the council. “It’s been a couple of years in the making.”

Long-time Hamblen Imagination Library Coordinator Tish Jones is retiring from the program as well as her post serving as Executive Director of HC*Excell

The new Hamblen County Imagination Library Advisory Council held its first meeting Wednesday and is starting from a strong and secure position. Tish Jones and another council member told the group there was currently $30,000 on hand to help buy books and that more donations should be coming. “We’re on target to have $45,000 every year,” she said.

James Craine, co-chairman of the council’s transition committee, said that Hamblen County Imagination Library runs on a $40,000 annual budget. “We’ve made sure your funding source is there, rock solid, for the next five years,” he said.

Hamblen County Imagination Library was started in 2004. The county commission, at that time, directed HC*EXCELL to lead the program. Over the last few years, there was an effort led to make it a stand-alone program and that dream came to reality with this transition.

In December 2004, there were 19 Imagination Library books distributed across Hamblen County. Currently, there are almost 2,400 books distributed county-wide each month with more than 27,000 books mailed annually. 

Theresa Carl, President of the Governors Books from Birth Foundation, spoke at the Wednesday meeting, stating Hamblen County is a leader with almost 59 percent of its eligible-age population enrolled in the program. “You are a model,” she said.

The new Hamblen County Imagination Library Coordinators are Dawn Belson and Shelley Shropshire.

(Note: Portions of the above blog taken from an online article.)