Imagination Library hits its 5th birthday

Because of you the Lenawee Community Foundation is proud to announce the Imagination Library’s 5th birthday here in Lenawee County!

“We would like to Thank You here and there, we would like to Thank You anywhere, we would like to Thank You in a boat, we would like to Thank You with a goat, in the park or at the zoo, it was awfully nice of you!”  Dr. Seuss wrote this and we agree!

Shelley Hickman, founder of the Lenawee Imagination Library and Sue Hammersmith, President & CEO of the Lenawee Community Foundation, began fundraising for the program in 2009.  Book delivery began January, 2010 to 340 children.   At the present time, over 1500 of Lenawee’s 5,700 children ages birth to five are enrolled.

The Imagination Library delivers a new, age-appropriate book each month to registered preschool children, who live in Lenawee County.  The books are mailed directly to each child at his/her home from Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Foundation, where childhood literacy experts select the books, and a partnership with their printer greatly reduces the cost to the Lenawee Community Foundation.

The children get to keep the books, so a child registered at birth can accumulate a collection up to 60 books of their very own.  Titles include The Little Engine that Could, Llama Llama Red Pajama, Corduroy, All of Baby Nose to Toes, and more.

The Lenawee Community Foundation pays for the books and mailing costs, and maintains the database to assure that children receive the books.

The annual program cost is approximately $50,000 per year.  Because 90% of a child’s brain development occurs between birth and age 5, the Imagination Library is an excellent investment in children to help prepare them for kindergarten and life.

Over the past five years funding has been received from local service clubs, private foundations and many individuals.  Major gifts have been received from the Kappa Kappa Epsilon, Marathon Classic, Consumers Energy, MIS Cares and the Maurice and Dorothy Stubnitz Foundation.   Individual gifts have come from parents enrolling their own children, baby shower gifts, parents paying it forward, grandparents giving the books to their grandchildren, individual persons adopting children at local nonprofits, corporate ‘dress down’ days, and individuals who simply believe that reading to children is important.

Brochures about the program are available at all libraries in Lenawee County.  You can also get more information, or support the Lenawee Imagination Library with a financial gift by contacting the Lenawee Community Foundation at 423-1729, going online at, e-mailing Sue Hammersmith at or mailing a check payable to Lenawee Community Foundation – Imagination Library, P.O. Box 142, Tecumseh MI 49286.