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Supporting Literacy in our Community with Imagination Library

As we celebrate March as Reading Month, we emphasize the impact literacy has on shaping young minds and ensuring a brighter future for our community.

“Literacy is a crucial skill and expands opportunity for children, a right no child should be deprived of. The Bay Arenac ISD is deeply invested in ensuring our community’s children have this privilege and we need community support to sustain this program.”

Niki Napolitano
Friends of Imagination Library Bay and Arenac Counties

As we celebrate March as Reading Month, we emphasize the impact literacy has on shaping young minds and ensuring a brighter future for our community. With a focus on early childhood development, the Bay Area Community Foundation (BACF) is committed to ensuring all children show up for kindergarten ready to learn at a developmentally appropriate level. Progressing in this space is the Imagination Library of Bay and Arenac Counties.

Founded in 2005 and established as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2022, Imagination Library has impacted countless children in our region. With a mission to provide access to high-quality books to children aged birth to 5, the program has distributed nearly 1,000,000 books since its inception. Each month, over 442 children in Arenac County and 2,575 children in Bay County receive age-appropriate books selected by the Blue Ribbon Book Selection Committee, free of charge, through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library via the US Mail. This service comes at a cost of approximately $6,000 per month, covering the expenses of books and postage.

“There is a misconception that Dolly Parton pays for every book mailed to children, and while her Foundation has laid the groundwork for this program, local Imagination Library chapters need support to ensure this $70,000 a year program continues,” shares Niki Napolitano of Friends of Imagination Library Bay and Arenac Counties.

The Imagination Library is enhancing family engagement, improving literacy outcomes and increasing access to reading materials. The Bay Arenac ISD further amplifies this mission by generously providing “in-kind” support, including staffing, printing, marketing and coordination of enrollment.

During Reading Month, we are reminded that reading is a fundamental lifelong skill. A grant through BACF in support of the Imagination Library’s Literacy Campaign reaffirmed our commitment to ensuring that every child in Bay and Arenac counties has the opportunity to unlock the magic and power of reading.

You can support this program here or by contacting the Bay Area Community Foundation at 989-893-4438 or the Bay Arenac ISD/Jill Bialek at 989-667-3223.

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