BY JILL WHALEN
The United Way of Greater Hazleton and The Dollywood Foundation are presenting a free one-night-only live streaming world premiere event for “The Library That Dolly Built,” a behind-the-scenes look at Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
The world premiere will be presented as a free live stream beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday on Facebook. Viewers can tune in to hear about the library that gives free books to youngsters at fb.me/dollysimaginationlibrary and imaginationlibrary.com.
Parton created the Imagination Library to inspire a love for books and reading among the nation’s preschool children. Since its inception in 1995, the Imagination Library has grown into a global endeavor and recently hit a new milestone, gifting its 150 millionth book. The Imagination Library is currently delivering books to 1.7 million children around the world each month.
In the Hazleton area, the United Way spearheaded the Imagination Library in cooperation with Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton.
Over the past six years, United Way President and CEO Patrick J. Ward said more than 30,000 books have been given to area youngsters.
“There is a book each month for the first 60 months of a child’s life,” Ward said.
Ward said the United Way began the program after he’d heard that many children were entering kindergarten and couldn’t identify the letters of the alphabet.
“Many of them had never even seen a book,” he noted. “You could draw the assumption that that might be because their parents might not have been purchasing books for them or reading to them as babies. Dolly Parton Imagination Library was the easiest way for us to join in the fight against early childhood illiteracy.”
The program is funded solely by donations, which can be made to United Way of Greater Hazleton, 134 S. Wyoming St., Hazleton, PA 18201.
Of Wednesday’s live stream of the event, Parton said, “I am so excited that we can finally tell the whole story of the Imagination Library. It is certainly not just about me. Our story is the story of children, of families and communities who all share the dream to inspire kids to love to read and to love to learn. My hope is this documentary will encourage more towns, more states and even more countries to jump onboard. One thing is for sure, I think this is the best investment I have ever made!”
For more information, visit www.imaginationlibrary.com/film.
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