It's been a busy summer for the Imagination Library of Putnam County.
Between the Friends of the Library Touch-A-Truck fundraiser, generous donations, grants from the community and beyond and dozens of new registrations, the program is well on its way to becoming an established part of the community and accomplishing its goal of increasing early literacy in Putnam County.
Since its beginning two years ago, the local Imagination Library has provided monthly, age-appropriate books to nearly 1,000 Putnam County children under the age of five.
In order to assess the impact of the program in the community, the Putnam County Public Library (PCPL) sent a survey to parents of Imagination Library children. The survey, which was funded by the Friends of the Library, explored how family reading habits changed after receiving books from the Imagination Library.
In order to receive a survey, a family must have been registered for the program for at least a year, and currently have a child enrolled. Some 400 families received a survey in the mail, and over the course of several weeks, 92 families representing 126 children sent their completed surveys back to the library, for a return rate of 23 percent.
The results were very positive, showing that 91 percent of families are "very satisfied" with the program. 39 percent reported an increase in reading with their child since receiving books, and 82 percent are reading daily or more than daily since being involved with the Imagination Library.
Most notably, statistics showed that families who were not reading regularly before receiving Imagination Library books benefited most from the program and saw the greatest increases in reading.
These parents were the most likely to report that their child is more excited about reading, that they are more aware of their child's reading readiness, and that they believe their child is better prepared for school. All of these gains point to improved literacy in the homes of those children receiving books from the Imagination Library.
The survey's results will ultimately serve to help fund the program, since understanding how the Imagination Library helps families will aid in securing grants and gathering donations. The program has already received much support from the community, but as that support grows, so does the program.
Those involved with the Imagination Library hope that community support will only increase with the statistical evidence that the program is effective.
Library officials see every newly registered child as a testament to the program's success, a challenge for support efforts and an opportunity for the community to help its children learn to read.