Governor John Carney and the Delaware Division of Libraries announced that Bayhealth has partnered with Dover and Milford Public Libraries to ensure that all babies born at Bayhealth hospitals, as well as all eligible Bayhealth Pediatrics patients in Milford, are listed in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
This partnership supports Carney’s statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library through Delaware Public Libraries. Babies and children who are enrolled in Dolly Parton’s free Imagination Library program receive a new book in the mail each month from birth until their fifth birthday. This helps families create a personal library of up to 60 books for free, with the goal of establishing the child’s early reading experience and habits. More than 13,000 Delaware children from birth to age 5 receive a new book in the mail each month.
“One of the most important things we can do to improve children’s literacy is to give our children access to books, especially in these difficult times,” said Carney. “The Imagination Library program is also an important part of the First Chance Delaware Children’s Initiative, led by my wife Tracey, to promote learning readiness through literacy and parent-child engagement. Thank you to the Bayhealth, Dover and Milford Public Libraries, and to all of our partners for your work in this important effort.
Bayhealth joins Beebe Healthcare, which was the first hospital to help expand Dolly Parton’s Imagination library. In October 2020, Beebe partnered with the Lewes Public Library to enroll babies born in its facilities into the program.
“Bayhealth is a great addition to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library partners,” said First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney. “We hope that all of our birthing hospitals will eventually be able to implement similar registration programs. Early interactive language exposure is so essential to brain development and children’s success. “
“Promoting early language skills improves overall literacy and develops strong reading habits. One of the most important things a parent can do to help their child succeed later in school – and in life – is to read to them. We are delighted to join this important initiative and offer this program to all Bayhealth babies as well as to any Bayhealth Pediatrics patient who is under 5 years of age and not already enrolled, ”said the patient. Bayhealth pediatrician Colleen Allorto, DO.
On the campuses of Bayhealth Hospital, Kent and Sussex, newborns and their families are enrolled in the program and receive their first Imagination Library book upon discharge from hospital. At Bayhealth Pediatrics, doctors and nurses educate parents of eligible children about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program and help enroll them as needed.
“The Imagination Library is offered internationally through the Dollywood Foundation and is managed for Delaware by the Division of Libraries. It is a natural fit for our libraries to partner with community hospitals to facilitate Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Early literacy is one of our core missions, ”said Dr. Annie Norman, director of the Delaware Division of Libraries.