Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Celebrated in Sussex County by Beebe Healthcare and Literacy Partners
Beebe Healthcare representatives were on hand Thursday, May 5, to welcome Dolly Parton to the Wilmington Public Library. Parton, one of the country’s most beloved musicians, was in Delaware to celebrate her Imagination Library program, which has put over 200 million books into the hands and hearts of children across the world, and in Delaware.
The country music legend, humanitarian and philanthropist dazzled the crowd with her infectious joy, and entertained fans, including Gov. John Carney and First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney, with her own special storytelling through song. The next day, the Governor and First Lady stopped into the Lewes Public Library to recognize the Sussex County champions of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and joined a roundtable discussion on the initiative. The roundtable included representatives from the Delaware Division of Libraries, Lewes Public Library, Cape Henlopen School District, and pediatric healthcare provider, Stacey Fox, MD of Beacon Pediatrics.
“Beebe Healthcare is proud to be the first birth hospital in the First State to provide the first book to babies born at our Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus,” said Tom Protack, President of Beebe Medical Foundation. “Studies show that early childhood literacy can be tied to better health and wellness later in life, and our donors want to support Beebe Healthcare in this effort.”
Nearly two years after implementing the program, nearly 1,200 “Baby’s FIRST BOOK Bags” have been funded by Beebe Medical Foundation donors. Thanks to the coordination of Beebe’s nursery staff, led by Bridget Buckaloo, RN, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services, registration in the program is facilitated and the book bag with the first Imagination Library book, Watty Piper’s classic, The Little Engine That Could and other early literacy-related materials, is presented to all Beebe babies and their families at discharge.
When Gov. Carney announced the expansion statewide of DPIL through Delaware’s public libraries in August 2020 and Jennifer Noonan, Children’s Librarian & Program Coordinator for the Lewes Public Library contacted Beebe, the non-profit local healthcare system was eager to sign up. The Imagination Library program mails a free book every month to registered children from birth until they are 5 years old. It is an important component of the First Chance Delaware initiative for children, led by First Lady Carney, that includes promoting learning readiness through literacy and parent-child engagement. Since Parton’s visit, the Gov.’s Office has said more than 1,000 Delaware children have signed up for the Imagination Library. As of last week, over 21,000 Delaware children are enrolled in the program.
If you are interested in supporting Beebe‘s Early Literacy programs and partnership in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, go to the Beebe Medical Foundation web page or call 302-644-2900.
Captions: At the Lewes Library, front row, Gov. John Carney, First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney, Dr. Stacey Fox, FAAP, Karen Duffield, Annual Fund & Grants Coordinator, Beebe Medical Foundation. Back row: Rick Grier-Reynolds, Chanta Wilkinson, LPL Board President, Amanda Archambault, Cape District Supervisor of Elementary Education, Kay Young, Executive Director of Development, Beebe Medical Foundation, Bridget Buckaloo, RN, Beebe Healthcare, Lea Rosell, Director, Lewes Public Library, Maureen Miller, LPL Board, Rachel Lynch, Director, Sussex County Department of Libraries.
Dolly Parton, Kay Young and wife, Donna Shifflett, representing Beebe Healthcare at Wilmington Event.