DICKSON, TN - Governor's Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) joined Dickson County Imagination Library on Tuesday, June 25 to celebrate the launch of a birthing hospital partnership at TriStar Horizon Medical Center to begin enrolling newborn babies into Tennessee's Imagination Library (IL) program.

Through this partnership, each family with a newborn child at TriStar Horizon Medical Center will be given the opportunity to enroll in Tennessee's Imagination Library and begin receiving one book per month mailed to the child's home until age five, at no cost to the family. Emphasizing the benefits of reading with children from birth, each family enrolled at the hospital will receive a copy of the first Imagination Library book, _The Little Engine That Could, _prior to discharge.

"We want to ensure that all babies born at TriStar Horizon have the opportunity to grow with not only a healthy body but a healthy mind through books," stated Dustin Greene, chief executive officer at TriStar Horizon. "This partnership affords us the opportunity to expand our mission into the community and really make a positive impact on the babies' lives."

GBBF strengthens early literacy in Tennessee by sustaining the statewide Imagination Library program and initiatives such as Tennessee State Park Storybook Trails and Summer Mobile Literacy Units. GBBF launched the birthing hospital initiative in 2014, partnering with hospitals across the state to introduce Tennessee's Imagination Library program to families of newborns. Twenty-four birthing hospitals are now participating statewide, and 35,000+ children have been enrolled through the initiative.

"The mission of GBBF is to strengthen early literacy in Tennessee. Children enrolled at birth in Tennessee's Imagination Library will receive 60 high-quality, age-appropriate books by age five and will gain the opportunity to build a love of reading and learning during the most critical years of brain development," said GBBF President, James Pond. "We are grateful for partnering hospitals like TriStar Horizon that help us emphasize the benefits of reading with children from birth and provide children with the resources to build early literacy skills."

Tennessee's Imagination Library program is made available to all birth to age five children in Tennessee through a unique, three-way partnership between GBBF, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and a local affiliate program in each of Tennessee's 95 counties. With vital financial support from the Tennessee General Assembly, foundations, and corporate sponsors, GBBF funds half of the cost of Imagination Library books for enrolled children statewide, supporting grassroots organizers in each of Tennessee's 95 counties as they raise the other half of the cost of books for enrolled children in their county.

Dickson County Imagination Library is the local affiliate program and has delivered more than 250,000 books to children in the community since 2006. Currently, 56% of all children under age five living in Dickson County are enrolled in the program and receive books each month. With over 1,800 books now being mailed to enrolled children each month, the monthly cost allocated to Dickson County Imagination Library exceeds $1,800, matched by GBBF.

Tennessee research shows that children who are enrolled in the Imagination Library program for longer periods of time are more likely to score higher on academic assessments through early grades. Further, this research indicates students are more likely to have increased school attendance and less likely to be suspended.