YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg and St. Petersburg West Rotary Club Partner to Offer Free Books to Children

November 21, 2019


The YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg is partnering with the St. Petersburg West Rotary Club to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to children in the St. Petersburg area. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school on a monthly basis, no matter their family’s income. Children enrolled in any of the three YMCA Preschool Academies can enroll in the program as an added benefit.  

Recent studies suggest participation in the Imagination Library is positively correlated with higher measures of early language and math development. The books are specifically chosen by a panel of early childhood literacy experts to be developmentally appropriate. The intention of the program is to nurture a love of reading and learning by encouraging a respect for diversity of people and cultures, promoting self-esteem and appreciating art and aesthetics. “Making books available to children at an early age is critical. Establishing a practice of routinely reading with children increases their vocabulary, critical thinking and comprehension skills. The  Imagination Library makes it possible for children and parents to engage in reading together at home, which builds the children’s confidence and love for reading.”

There are three YMCA Preschool Academies: Bardmoor YMCA Preschool Academy in Largo, Speer YMCA Preschool Academy in south St. Petersburg and Lealman YMCA Preschool Academy in north St. Petersburg. In addition to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, added benefits of enrollment include dance programs, swim lessons and more. For more information, visit: https://www.stpeteymca.org/preschools.

The YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg is proud to partner with the St. Petersburg West Rotary Club in this collaborative effort to support early childhood literacy and youth development in our community.