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ORAU and Dollywood Foundation Expand Imagination Library to All of Anderson Country

June 22, 2004

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. -- Dolly Parton and Governor Phil Bredesen announced last week that the Dollywood Foundation’s Imagination Library will be extended to preschool children throughout the state of Tennessee, offering up to 60 free books for each child.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) will now supply books for all children in Anderson County who are between the ages of one month and five years old. ORAU initially partnered with the Dollywood Foundation in 2001 offering free books through the Imagination Library to children living in three Anderson county communities and adding Oak Ridge to the program in 2002.

“What an excellent opportunity to expand this program again. Governor Bredesen is to be commended for ensuring the literacy of young Tennesseans,” ORAU President Ronald Townsend said. “Our experience with this program and the response of participating families has been phenomenal. It’s exciting to think what this simple program will do for the future of Tennessee.”

Through the Imagination Library and the governor’s First Book Foundation, each child will receive “The Little Engine That Could” as their first book. The child is then mailed one hardcover, age-appropriate book free each month until the age of five. Books are chosen by a committee of parents, educators, child development specialists, publishers, and university professors. ORAU will pay 50 percent of the costs for all children living in Anderson County.

Since 2001, ORAU has distributed more than 14,000 books to 980 children living in Andersonville, Briceville, Lake City and Oak Ridge. Townsend said that with the additional funding provided by the governor, ORAU expects to distribute approximately 10,000 books in 2005.

For more information on the program or to obtain a registration form, contact ORAU directly by calling 576-3300 or emailing April Hackler at Registration forms are also available at Anderson county libraries and online at

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Media Contacts

Pam Bonee
Work: 865.576.3146
Cell: 865.603.5142

Wendy West
Work: 865.576.0028
Cell: 865.207.7953