Places Around Town & Dolly’s Imagination Library

It’s been a few days since I posted. It’s been a busy week and I’ve been to some fun places where I observed interesting things. I have a couple of essays started, maybe I can finish and post them this weekend.

However it IS Daytona 500 weekend. Lots of pre-race to absorb.

Today I’m going with my mom and some friends to Alma for lunch — some place I’ve never been. It should be fun.

Meanwhile, yesterday I went to one of my favorite places — the Fort Smith Public Library. Every month, the main library hosts “Food for Thought.” Yesterday’s session featured my friend Angela Tilley from the United Way of Fort Smith.

She talked about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. I was spell-bound.

Angela briefly walked us through a few slides illustrating the development of a child’s brain from birth to about 5 years — showing scientific evidence of what we’ve known for a long time. Children have a lot to learn in their first 5 years. It sets the stage for life-long learning.

I didn’t write down the statistics, but an astounding percentage of Fort Smith area students are behind the curve by the time they reach kindergarten.

Guess what goes a long way in developing a child’s brain, increasing their ability to socialize, and helping to develop a love for learning? Guess. Go ahead.


Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library sends children enrolled in its program a book every month until they’re five years old. They’re age specific. The books come in the mail. Dontcha know the youngsters can’t WAIT to get in the house and have an adult read their new book to them? Ya think maybe a busy, frazzled, single parent barely making ends meet must be pleased to see their child so excited about something free that came in the mail? Ya think the parent is more likely to make time to sit with the child and read?


I am so sold on this program. Can’t imagine what my life would be now without books and without parents who encouraged me to read and be curious about lots of things.

It’s easy to get involved in this program. If you’re a parent, sign up your kids online here. Encourage friends with children to sign them up. It’s FREE.

It’s free because Dolly Parton’s foundation is committed to this program, which is available through communities across the country. Participating Arkansas communities are Jonesboro, Batesville, and Fort Smith.

The communities agree to underwrite the program to the tune of $30 per student. Heckuva bargain. I’m in.

I hope you’ll help too.

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