VANCEBURG -- The Lewis County Public Library is currently in need of funding to continue a program that allows it to provide books to children under the age of five.

LCPL Director Marilyn Conway said the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program has more than 300 children enrolled in Lewis County and has already seen the "graduation" of more than 40 children.

"You 'graduate' when you reach age five," she said. "We've had over 40 already and still have over 300 currently enrolled. The program allows us to give one book a month to children under the age of five. It's such an important program and we want to be able to continue it."

The books are mailed directly to the home of each Lewis County child every month.

Conway said a motorcycle ride fund-raiser will be held on July 15 at the Vanceburg Volunteer Fire Department. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the ride begins at noon.

The cost for the ride is $15 for a bike and $5 for a passenger. There will also be a split the pot and light dinner after the ride.

"It only costs $25 to sponsor one child for a year," Conway said. "We're currently trying to raise the money for this year."

According to Conway, anyone wishing to donate to the program can drop money off at the library.

"We've already had one person come in and do that (Thursday)," she said. "It's important that we keep this program going and we appreciate the help."

The program began in Lewis County in 2015. However the program itself  was started in 1996 by Parton as a way to encourage reading in children.

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Robin Hamm-LaValley, who helped start the Lewis County chapter of the program, said her sister, Margo Hamm, had approached businesses, community members and friends about helping to fund this program in 2014.

According to Hamm-LaValley, Hamm, who had worked as an associate dean of the learning commons at Somerset College and a librarian at the Maysville Community and Technical College, was diagnosed with uterine cancer in February and succumbed to the illness in May, before she could see the program up and operating.

That was when Hamm's sister stepped up to complete the project.

"This program was important to Margo because it related so closely to the core of her profession as a librarian," Hamm-LaValley said. "Promoting literacy had always been a part of Margo's professional and personal calling in life. She believed that improving school readiness and literacy would impact primary, secondary, and post-secondary education and educational opportunities and equity for the Lewis County children enrolled in this program for many years to come."

More information on the program can also be found on the Facebook page called Lewis County Imagination Library.


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