An international program that shares the love of reading with children will continue with support from Tamworth Regional Council. The success of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was highlighted in a report tabled at this week's meeting and councillors voted to allocate $70,000 from the Youth Services Reserve towards funding it for another year. It has 690 enrolments with about 90 children being enrolled each month, and all funding from TRC goes towards children in the region. The program is aimed at improving early childhood literacy and has now been running for 12 months. It gives enrolled children a high quality, age-appropriate book each month until they turn five. The success in Tamworth is attributed to a unique partnership with the State-Wide Infant Screening Hearing Nurses at the maternity ward at Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital. Since their involvement in the latter part of 2019, every baby born in the Tamworth local government area has enrolled in the program. Earlier in the year, Global CEO of the program David Dotson and praised the city for its work. "Tamworth brings this very unique perspective of a whole community embracing a program and putting it to work, which is music to our ears," he said at the time. "If we could replicate what's happening in Tamworth across the country, all our dreams would come true. "The city library holds a weekly reading session aimed at bringing children together ... when you put those fundamentals in place then the chances for academic success, no matter how you define it, are greatly enhanced. "
Emily Press with her sons Orlando and Matthew at a reading session in February.