Imagination Library provides free books to children ages 0-5 that live in Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick Counties. With generous support of community donors, this program has remained free and without a wait-list for over 3,200 enrolled children in the 4-county area. The goal for the Imagination Library Program is to continue free participation for all families with young children. According to the Literacy Project Foundation, "some of the most important statistics from the National Institute for Literacy, National Center for Adult Literacy, The Literacy Company, and U.S. Census Bureau underscore the critical need to address illiteracy in the United States:
*Currently, 45 million Americans are functionally illiterate and cannot read above a fifth-grade level
*50% of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth-grade level
*57% of students failed the California Standards Test in English
*1/3 of fourth-graders reach the proficient reading level
*25% of students in California school systems are able to perform basic reading skills
*85% of juvenile offenders have problems reading
*3 out of 5 people in American prisons can't read
*3 out of 4 people on welfare can't read"
Further, the Literacy Foundation asserts that "by age 2, a child's brain is as active as an adult's and by age 3 the brain is more than twice as active as an adult's - and stays that way for the first 10 years of life."
The Imagination Library program bridges the gap for all children and provides not only books, but also reading and engagement tips for parents. This project is ongoing and Rotarians are able to participate in annual school district reading programs through the local Imagination Library (if available due to COVID-19.
The Grand Island Rotary Club would like to sponsor 36 children for one year in the Imagination Library program. The cost is $30 per child per year.