2021 Year in Review
 
In March of 2021, the Salida Sunrise and Buena Vista Rotary Clubs celebrated 6 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 25,000 books to over 930 children in the Salida School District!  Across Chaffee County, over 39,000 books have been mailed to over 1,400 children.
 
In 2021 alone, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in Salida School District put over 3,870 quality, age-appropriate books into the hands of 437 registered children.  There were 108 new registrations during 2021 (of which 48 were new births), and 79 children turned five and graduated from the program.  At the end of 2021, we had 327 registered children, just slightly higher than the beginning of the year.
 
Once again, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we could not hold our usual registration events such as at the Chaffee Home and Garden Show and the KHEN Back-to-School party.  To help address this, we reached out to the local licensed day cares and preschools to ensure they had registration forms and could encourage families to register their young children.  We also tried to reach more people via our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/salidaimaginationlibrary.
 
We continued to see outstanding support from the community with a great response to our year-end fundraising efforts.  For the second 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, including grants from Monarch Community Outreach, Salida Regional Library, and the Marijuana Excise Tax Advisory Board.  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.
 
As we closed out 2021, the newly established Colorado Imagination Library program went live and is now supporting local affiliates.  This means that we will see half of our book costs covered by the state in 2022.  
 
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.