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Celebrations

August 20, 2012

Totally booked: NA-FC Imagination Library celebrates it’s third birthday

NEW ALBANY — At 16 months old, Annike Aubuchon of Georgetown lets her parents know when she wants to read.

“She loves it,” Isolde Aubuchon, Annike’s mother, said. “She’ll come and stick a book in your face because she wants to read.”

Annike, her parents and other families from Floyd County celebrated the third birthday of the county’s Imagination Library — a program that gives children one free book every month from birth until they’re 5 years old — at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library on Saturday.

Children got to make different arts and crafts, have a balloon animal made for them and partake in a little birthday cake.

Becky King, the program’s coordinator, said the Imagination Library has partnered with about 100 local businesses, churches, schools and civic organizations. This month, she said 2,995 children in Floyd County are signed up to receive books.

“I think it’s given a good start for our youngest children to love books and develop those early reading skills,” King said. “I think that the love of books needs to start very young.”

She said research points to better performance when children enter school if they’ve set up a regular reading routine before they’re old enough to enroll.

The Horseshoe Foundation and the NA-FC Education Foundation have put some support behind the program. King said Horseshoe has donated about $175,000 to date.

Tyler Bliss, executive director of the NA-FC Education Foundation, said he’s glad to see the program flourish.

“We’re just thrilled that we can offer this to Floyd County and have a book sent to our children every month,” Bliss said.

King said children born in Floyd County are signed up for the program from birth.

Brittany Ketterman of New Albany said her son, Marshall, loves “Llama Llama Mad at Mama,” by Anna Dewdney.

She said getting books in the mail with his name on them gets him excited, but she’s also glad to have more books on her shelves.

“Books are expensive and I love having a big library,” Ketterman said. “We have all the books from when I was a kid and we just want it to grow and grow.”

King said the books sent to the children are chosen by a committee for the national program, but they always have different kinds of vocabulary, lots of illustrations and color.

Ketterman said she likes the kinds of books her son receives.

“It’s also a good variety,” Ketterman said. “They’re not always books we might necessarily choose, but he likes them.”

King said other sponsors — including Head Start, Success by Six, The Carnegie Center, YMCA, Healthy Families, Youth Count, IU Southeast, Ivy Tech and the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana — have really stepped forward.

She said they’re always looking for more sponsors. She said it costs $30 a year to support enough books for one child or $150 to support a child from birth to age 5.

“I don’t think you can do anything better for a child, other than love them, than to instill a love of reading in them,” King said. “It will serve them well for the rest of their life.”

For more information on sponsoring or joining the program, email Becky King at bking@nafcs.k12.in.us or call her office at 812-542-4001.

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