Congresswoman Highlights Work of Imagination Library
March 1, 2018 (NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Acknowledging one of the key accomplishments of Phil Bredesen’s first term as Tennessee’s governor, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn on Tuesday evening tweeted her congratulations to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for “enriching the lives of children” by providing them with books.
Parton created the Imagination Library in 1996 to provide books to children in her of home county of Sevier County. After meeting Parton, Bredesen made expanding the Imagination Library to all 95 counties in Tennessee one of the key initiatives of his first term. In 2004, he created the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation to provide financial and administrative support to the Imagination Library statewide.
“It’s great that Congresswoman Blackburn knows that Gov. Bredesen understands the importance of creating a foundation for learning for children and that he spent significant state resources to give kids across the state books,” Jason Freeman, Executive Director for the Tennessee Democratic Party said. “Congresswoman Blackburn should continue reminding voters that Gov. Bredesen worked tirelessly to improve opportunity for Tennesseans of all ages in all 95 counties.”
As a candidate for governor in 2002, Bredesen promised to make Tennessee the first state to take the Imagination Library statewide. He accomplished this goal before his successful re-election campaign in 2006. For the first time, all Tennessee children ages five and under were eligible to receive one book per month at no expense to the family, regardless of their income.
The Imagination Library announced this week that it had reached a major milestone by distributing 100 million books in the United States and worldwide. Of that total, 30,000,000 have been given to children in Tennessee.
“Gov. Bredesen made a promise when he ran for governor in 2002 that he would improve educational opportunities for all Tennessee kids by providing them with books at a young age. He lived up to that promise,” Freeman said. “Congresswoman Blackburn knows that Gov. Bredesen is a man of his word and he was a governor that kept his promises to the voters.”
Imagination Library estimates that it has given books to approximately 600,000 Tennessee children.
Bredesen is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat from Tennessee. Blackburn is running in the Republican primary for the same seat.