20 million and counting: Shelby County 3-year-old presented with 20 millionth Tennessee Imagination Library book

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tamera Tynes, a 3-year-old Shelby County native, was presented the 20 millionth book of Tennessee’s Imagination Library at the Holiday Inn–University of Memphis.

“The Little Engine that Could”  was presented to Tynes by Governor Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam at the program’s tenth anniversary celebration in Memphis, Tennessee on April 28. 

 “Crissy and I want to congratulate Tennessee’s Imagination Library for 10 years of delivering these wonderful books to our state’s youngest citizens and making a difference in their lives,” Gov. Haslam said. “We also say ‘thank you’ to The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, the Dollywood Foundation and the hundreds of volunteers across all 95 counties that have made this milestone possible.”

The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) was founded in 2004 and sends every child in Tennessee from birth to age five that is enrolled in the Imagination Library program a monthly book at no cost to the family. The GBBF matches all funds raised by each county’s Imagination Library affiliate­–a public-private partnership unique to Tennessee, with funding support from the Tennessee General Assembly, foundations, individual donors and corporations.

“This program works because it is supported by such a strong grassroots community-driven effort,” Theresa Carl, president of GBBF, said. “Our goal is to build a foundation for reading and learning through books to Tennessee’s children and we’re excited to start delivering the next 20 million books.”

The Imagination Library program can be found in every state in the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Tennessee remains the only state with the program in every county.

Shelby County is the largest Imagination Library program in Tennessee and the U.S., and ships more than 38,000 books a month to children in the county.

Studies reveal that only 46 percent of Tennessee third graders are currently reading on grade level. Children entering kindergarten with good basic literacy skills are three to four times more likely to graduate high school.

About the GBBF

The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) is celebrating 10 years of supporting Tennessee’s Imagination Library program. Since 2004, more than 380,000 children have graduated from the program, having turned five. The GBBF currently mails over 220,000 books per month to enrolled children statewide. To enroll a child in the program, register online at www.GovernorsFoundation.org.  

To learn more about Tennessee’s statewide Imagination Library, we invite you watch our new video below!