“The Imagination Library effort makes it much easier to get high-quality reading materials into the hands of young children, which has a direct impact on how prepared they are for kindergarten and assists with developing the foundational literacy skills they can build on for future academic success,” said Patricia Vacca, Assistant Director for Curriculum and Instruction at Madison-Oneida BOCES and a member of the Coalition’s Managing Partners Board.
Over the past two years since it formed, the Literacy Coalition had already brought Imagination Library to three individual communities – Oneida, Canastota and Hamilton — through partnerships with donors and local public libraries. The Central New York Community Foundation, the Gorman Foundation and the Konosioni Honor Society at Colgate University funded those three sites. About 460 children are currently receiving books in those three communities.
The Coalition had intended to slowly expand the Imagination Library concept countywide as funding became available. But the Dorothy C. Lichtenberg Memorial Fund recently made a large donation to the Cazenovia Public Library specifically to fund the Imagination Library project in 10 additional communities, covering the remainder of the county. Dunn expects to reach more than 500 additional children through the expansion, bringing the total to about 1,000 children countywide being served by Imagination Library by the end of 2014. Over the next four years, Dunn projects the program will reach nearly 2,500 Madison County preschoolers.
“The incredible generosity of this family will provide a great community service to hundreds of children and families in our county,” Dunn said of Lichtenberg, a longtime Cazenovia resident and retired school teacher who passed away in February at age 104.