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Sponsors: THE ITALIAN EDUCATION FOUNDATION, Jane F. Lamb Charitable Foundation, William M. Neckerman Charitable Foundation


Imagine with us at the Library...

Parents of 3 & 4 year old children:

storytimeJoin Lyndsay Cramer, Early Literacy Specialist at the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, and learn how to share books with your little ones so that they will become proficient readers. Little ones will be treated to storytime and other early literacy activities.

Austintown Public Library
Thurs., July 17, 2014
6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.


Dinner provided by Panera Bread, compliments of Covelli Enterprises

Raffles and giveaways donated by the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning Valley and the United Way.

Click here for more information on the United Way’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library initiative

‘Imagine with us at the Library’ on July 17 Includes Dinner and Giveaways

Special Free Program Helps Parents Learn to Read to their Children; 

Kids Ages 3-4 will Enjoy Story Time and Activity 

Contact: Janet Loew, Library Communications/Public Relations Director, 330.744.8636

AUSTINTOWN (July 2, 2014/For Immediate Release) – Parents: Learn to read with your 3 and 4 year olds. Kids: Enjoy a story and an activity. “Imagine with Us” on Thursday, July 17, at the Austintown Library from 6-7:30 p.m. as the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County hosts an evening of fun and information, with the United Way’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library initiative. The evening includes raffles, giveaways and dinner for all participants provided by Panera Bread and Covelli Enterprises. And it’s all free.

At the “Imagine with Us” event, the Library’s Early Literacy Specialist, Lyndsay Cramer, will show parents and caregivers how to share books with their little ones so that they can become proficient readers. To register for the free program on July 17 at Austintown Library, call the Library at 330.744.8636 or the United Way Office at 330.746.8494.

“The United Way is connecting kids age 5 and under with books,” noted Heidi Daniel, Library Executive Director, “and putting books in children’s hands is something we believe in strongly. Books inspire creativity and provide knowledge which can enrich lives”

“The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley launched its new initiative, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library on April 9 in partnership with Covelli Enterprises and with support from the Library. Since that time 1,800 children in Mahoning County have been enrolled which far exceeds the 20% first year expectation,” said Kathy Mock, United Way Director of Education and Initiative. 

Ms. Daniel says, “It is our hope that the Imagination Library initiative will inspire children to come to the Library and where they can connect with even more books. Since reading and literacy are at the foundation of what we do, it’s only natural that we would be pleased at the opportunity to be a partner in United Way’s Imagination Library project.”

“As part of our partnership, we are providing workshops for parents, such as ‘Imagine with Us,’  in our libraries, featuring our librarians, who are skilled in early literacy,” notes Ms. Daniel. “Our staff will present parents with techniques for reading with their children in developmentally appropriate ways. We aim to expand parents’ knowledge of the simple techniques they can use when reading to their children to give them the skills to become proficient readers.”

Josephine Nolfi, Library Manager of Youth Services and Programming, is enthusiastic about the project: “We’re delighted to participate in United Way’s Imagination Library initiative. We are happy to be able to extend our reach to more families.”

“The Library is in the business of stressing the importance of reading and assisting parents and caregivers with techniques to use when reading to their children,” continues Ms. Nolfi. “Library story times showcase pre-literacy skills which are recognized as the foundation for learning to read and we hope to share these techniques with as many parents as possible. Our aim is to create successful learners and lifelong readers.”

“Putting a book in a child’s hand is an important step in creating a love of reading,” Ms. Nolfi adds. “When parents and caregivers share books in developmentally appropriate ways, they are optimizing development of the child’s brain cells and neural pathways that are the foundation needed before reading can become a fluent and natural process. With this in place, a child has the best chance of becoming a successful reader.”

Mrs. Mock says, “The goal of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, as well as the Public Library, is to help improve early childhood literacy and consequently, school performance, by instilling in preschoolers the love of reading. Today more than ever, with all of the requirements our children are faced with in school, the key is start at birth. To immerse a child in a literacy environment can be a stronger predictor of academic achievement than income. Access to books and educational materials is one of the single biggest barriers to literacy development. If we can solve the problem of access to age-appropriate books… we are well on our way. Clearly the key is to begin our work at birth.  There are many dimensions with our work: books in the home, parents who read often to their children and the association of reading with fun and love of it, are a few.”

“Preschool children in Mahoning County ages birth to 5 years will receive a free book when they are enrolled by a parent or guardian. The total estimated population under age 5 is 14,109. We are hopeful to reach 60%, which is 8,465 children, over 5 years,” said Mrs. Mock.

How will they receive the books?  Parents and guardians can enroll children at birth through age five in one of the following ways:

The books will be mailed to the children’s homes addressed to them with love and excitement.

“Your United Way not only plans to put books in the homes of children, but with the expertise of the Public Library, we plan to provide instruction to parents on how to read with their child at host sites throughout the county. Our first event is on July 17 at Austintown Library,” Mrs. Mock notes.

“In addition to the enrollment success, the Imagination Library has garnered more investment support from The Italian Scholarship Foundation, the William M. Neckerman Charitable Foundation and the Jane F. Lamb Charitable Foundation,” notes Mrs. Mock.

Library Communications and Public Relations Director Janet Loew notes, “Our participation in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library demonstrates the commitment the Library has to early literacy and to inspiring children in our community to develop a love of reading, a love of libraries.”

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Imagine with Us at the Library flyer