One year ago, Carlisle in partnership with the school district, established a Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program for children living within the district. With 146 children registered during the first year, more than 1,750 books have been mailed out.


Program liaison Debbye Harrison said the school district and community are the first in Lonoke County to offer imagination library. She said promoting early literacy not only improves literacy scores in students, but also a better work force and citizens in the future.


“It’s the bedrock of democracy,” Harrison said of literacy.


Started by Parton in 1995, the Imagination Library is a program that delivers free of charge, high-quality, age-appropriate books (one per month) to children from infant to five. The goals of the program are to encourage a love for reading and develop basic skills more competently at an early age.


Harrison praised the Des Arc School district for their literacy scores and awards. Noting the district similarities between the Carlisle and Des Arc, she said the only difference between the two in literacy, is Des Arc established an Imagination Library program six or seven years ago.


“It’s been absolutely successful in Des Arc,” Harrison said. “They said it’s amazing to see the difference it has made.”


Harrison said she would like to encourage parents to sign their children up from birth, to begin receiving books right away.


“We want them to have books starting out and parents reading to them,” Harrison said.


Children must be enrolled in the program to receive books. Online registration is available at imaginationlibrary.com. Any child ages birth to five years can receive these free books. While there are no economic criteria or restrictions other than age, children must live in the Carlisle school district. Cost for the books is $30 per child, per year.


According to Harrison, Carlisle’s program is funded by the school district, businesses, clubs and private donors. Donations are tax deductible. Harrison said memorial honorariums may also be given and a card will be sent to the recipient .


“It’s a great way to honor or give a gift to someone that has everything,” Harrison said.


Checks can be made payable to the Carlisle School District/Imagination Library and mailed to Debbye Harrison 9952 Hwy 12 North Carlisle, Ark. 72024.