Last week, Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) and the Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee celebrated the launch of a new birthing hospital partnership with Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, to begin enrolling newborn babies into Tennessee’s Imagination Library program.
“When Imagination Library approached me about Williamson Medical Center being a partner, I knew immediately that we wanted to participate,” said Williamson Medical Center’s Chief Operating Officer, Julie Miller. “Knowing that we are a resource for providing a program that helps families connect while children develop essential life skills through books is exciting.”
Through this partnership, each family of a newborn child will be given the opportunity to enroll in Tennessee’s Imagination Library and will then begin receiving one book per month mailed to the child’s home, at no cost to the family. Each child enrolled in the program prior to hospital discharge will receive the first Imagination Library book, The Little Engine That Could, as a tangible example of the wonderful books that will arrive each month until the child reaches age five. This gift was made possible by a generous grant from The Williamson Medical Center Foundation.
“As the local Imagination Library program affiliate for Davidson, Williamson and Sumner counties, we are thrilled at the opportunity to have more children born at Williamson Medical Center enrolled in the program,” said Erica Mitchell, senior director of community impact at United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. “United Way is committed to early childhood literacy programs that prepare children for lifelong learning through reading and families connecting around books.”
Tennessee’s Imagination Library program is made available to all Tennessee children, from birth to age five, through a unique, three-way partnership between GBBF, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and a local affiliate program in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties. To emphasize the benefits of reading with children beginning at birth, GBBF launched the birthing hospital initiative in 2014, partnering with hospitals across the state to introduce Tennessee’s Imagination Library program to families of newborns.
“Reading to a child through early exposure to books has proven to be a predictor of a child’s academic success and language development,” GBBF President Theresa Carl said. “We partner with birthing hospitals across the state of Tennessee to strengthen the connection between literacy and health, building healthy bodies and minds through books.”
Founded in 2005, the Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee serves as the local affiliate Imagination Library program for Davidson, Williamson, and Sumner Counties, and has delivered more than 4.3 million books to children across Middle Tennessee. Currently, 68.6% of all children under age five living in Williamson County are enrolled in the program and receive books each month. Each month, the Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee delivers more than 39,960 books to children in the community, including over 8,400 in Williamson County alone.
To view additional pictures from the event, please click here.