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Rosalyn Grammer and 14-month old daughter Meredith enjoy reading books together. Reading together allows the mother and daughter duo time to bond. The Imagination Library sends free, age-appropriate books to children all over the world, from birth to age 5. Grammer’s father, Mayor Lane Curlee, is hosting a fundraising luncheon on Monday, Dec. 17, to help support the program.

Reading a story with mom or dad is a treasured childhood memory for many people. Whether it’s a bedtime story or “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” by the light of the tree, books are at the center of many beloved family moments.

As a father, and now a grandfather, Tullahoma Mayor Lane Curlee remembers those moments and he’s asking the community to help every family build children’s libraries of their own by supporting the Imagination Library.

Founded by country music star Dolly Parton with the mission to ignite dreams through the love of reading, the Imagination Library provides free books to children once a month from birth through age 5. By the time a child enters kindergarten, the family will have home library of up to 60 titles.

Curlee is hosting a fundraiser lunch to help raise funds for the local Imagination Library.

Curlee described the benefit of the Imagination Library as he talks about his granddaughter, who receives books every month.

“As new grandparents ourselves, we are thrilled to see that our 14-month-old granddaughter Meredith receives these books monthly and the joy we share as we read to her,” he said. “We can’t wait until she is reading to us.”

According to Curlee, the cost to provide a year’s worth of books for each child in the community is $24. A local Imagination Library board of directors is dedicated to ensure that each child receives his or her books.

Providing books to all the children is an enormous task. During December, almost 3,000 books were delivered to children between Manchester and Tullahoma alone.

“I really like how the books are themed throughout the months of the year,” commented Rosalyn Grammer, the mayor’s daughter who receives books for her own daughter.

“In May we got a Mother’s Day book, and they are all appropriate for the child’s age,” Grammer said. “I just really like how the books are available to us, and our daughter really enjoys being hands on with the books.”

Every penny that is donated to the local effort stays in the area, and every donation buys books for a child in the community. There has been a 30.4 percent increase in the Imagination Library enrollment since 2015.

The projected cost to provide every child enrolled with a monthly book is $40,000 and the organization is currently $10,000 short of its goal.

To help close that gap, Curlee is inviting the community to a fundraiser lunch at the D.W. Wilson Community Center from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 17. The luncheon will feature Abby Graves who is the Community Engagement Director from the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation.

Delta Dental has agreed to match the fundraising efforts up to $5,000, according to the mayor.

“Please come and join us for a delicious lunch and perhaps hear something that inspires you,” said Curlee. “In the spirit of the Christmas season, I hope you can attend this important giving opportunity. Even if you can’t attend, donations of any size are appreciated. Children may only be a quarter of our population, but they are 100 percent of our future. Please help make this investment in our future a reality.”

The lunch is free to attend but donations will be accepted. Anyone who would like to attend should contact Robin via email at rmorrison@tullahomatn.gov or by calling 931-455-2648. Those unable to attend but who still wish to donate to the Imagination Library, donations of any size can be sent to P.O. Box 84, Tullahoma, TN 37388.

Imagination Library

According to its website, The Imagination Library was founded in 1995 by country music star Dolly Parton. Her efforts to start the Imagination Library was inspired by her father’s inability to read. The program is a book-gifting program that mails free books to children from birth to age five.

The program originally started in Parton’s home county in East Tennessee. Today the program mails more than 1 million free books each month to children around the world. The Imagination Library spans over four different countries.

Registering your child for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is easy. When your child is born in Tullahoma, an Imagination Library form is brought to you at the hospital. Filling out this form can ensure that your child receives free monthly books. Children can also be registered online at www.imaginationlibrary.com.

Today there are 1,355,891 children registered with the Imagination Library and 112,377,957 books have been mailed worldwide.

For more information on the Imagination Library, visit www.imaginationlibrary.com, or visit Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library on Facebook.

Faith Few can be reached by email at ffew@tullahomanews.com.