2022 Year in Review
In March of 2023, Salida Sunrise Rotary Club and Buena Vista Rotary Interact will celebrate 8 years of sponsoring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Chaffee County.  This outstanding program mails a free age-appropriate book to every registered child each month.  All children in Chaffee County are eligible from birth until they turn 5 years old.
This program promotes and encourages a love of reading among children and helps ensure that children enter kindergarten with a strong ability to read and an eagerness to learn.  It also promotes parent-child interaction and bonding.  If a child is registered at birth and remains in the program until he or she turns five, the child will accumulate 60 high quality books.
This program has been very successful in our community.  Since our launch, we have mailed nearly 29,000 books to over 1,025 children in the Salida School District!  Across Chaffee County, over 45,000 books have been mailed to over 1,600 children.
In 2022 alone, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in Salida School District put over 3,800 quality, age-appropriate books into the hands of 437 registered children.There were 99 new registrations during 2022 (of which 51 were new births), and 91 children turned five and graduated from the program.At the end of 2021, we had 317 registered children, just slightly lower than the beginning of the year.
In 2022, we were thrilled to once again hold our usual registration event at the Chaffee Home and Garden Show as well as to hold registration days at a couple local preschools.
We continued to see outstanding support from the community with a great response to our year-end fundraising efforts.For the third time, contributors could submit donations through Colorado Gives as well as through the mail.We were also successful in our pursuit of additional grant dollars.In 2022 this program received a Chaffee County Marijuana Excise Tax grant, participated in a Daniels Fund grant, and received another generous contribution from the Salida Regional Library.Our great partnerships with the Salida Regional Library, Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center’s Family Birthing Center, and the Salida Early Childhood Center remain very strong.
The Colorado Imagination Library program was in full swing in 2022 and provided great support to local affiliates.  This state program covers half of the Colorado affiliates’ book costs each month and helps identify grant opportunities.
We continue to hear wonderful feedback from the children and families.  During the fall of 2022, we completed our second online survey of participating families, and this survey showed that that 98% of the families in the Salida School District felt their children are building better literacy skills with this program and 96% believe that the Imagination Library books are helping prepare their children for kindergarten.  All of the responders said the program provided some to significant benefit, with 84% saying significant benefit. The outstanding comments in the survey support the impact and value of this program in our county. 
One of the many comments shared in the survey responses was “I cannot emphasize enough how incredible this program is for my family and our community!  My kids love receiving books every month and they are some of their favorites often read over and over.  Thank you for all that make this possible!”  Another was “This program has provided books that our son is very drawn too.  He brings books to everyone to read and enjoys books.  I believe the exposure to reading at a young age has helped grow his imagination and curiosity.  I also enjoy the bonding that come from reading books that he picks out.”
Through this wonderful program, you and our other generous contributors are offering the young children in Chaffee County a foundation for literary skills that will set them up for success in the future.  Rotarians and our generous and supportive community can be very proud of this program and what it is accomplishing!
For more information, please reach out to us at salidaimaginationlibrary@gmail.com.