The Rhea County Imagination Library recently received a grant for $24,000 from the Pete and Sally Smith Foundation. The funds will be used to continue sending free books to the County’s youngest readers.

 The library, in partnership with Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, will be able to provide a monthly gift of books to more than 1,300 Rhea County children, at no cost to families. The check was presented at the Clyde W. Roddy Library in Dayton.

Rhea Imagination Library Board Member Linda Abel said, “We look forward to continued growth of this great program for children in Rhea County.”

The mission of the Pete and Sally Smith Foundation is to support charitable causes in the areas of education, environment, and medical research/disease management in Rhea County, Tennessee and Oconee County, South Carolina, offering an annual grant to affiliated non-profits through an application.

Started by Dolly Parton in Sevier County, Tenn., as a way to provide young children with free books, the Imagination Library program has quickly grown to all 95 counties in Tennessee. The program provides free books for children from birth to 5-years-old to encourage reading and literacy throughout the state.

Imagination Library officials estimate that it costs only $12 a year to provide books for one child through the entire year, and it costs approximately $1,200 to $1,400 a month to fund the Rhea County Imagination Library.