Hello Dolly…But What About the Local Library?

I blogged previously about the wonderful Books from Birth program available in Davidson County which is now coming to 80 other Tennessee counties. Every child under the age of 5, regardless of income, receives a free monthly book. Of course, it’s up to parents to take the initiative to sign up for the program. It costs the state government $2 million to run the program, which was initially founded by Dolly Parton in her native Sevier County, and that funding may go up by $680,000 next year. The program has just been approved for wealthy Williamson County, where the average income is twice the state average, although many Williamson County residents would argue not all their neighbors have a three-car garage housing their Lexus, BMW and Land Rover. As a participating parent, I give the program a thumbs up. Caitlin loves receiving her monthly book in the mail and now Amelia has a small library. One parent in this Tennessean article even said the program was saving her about $40 to $50 a month, although I find it hard to believe the three books her children receive are worth that. Do normal parents actually have a monthly book budget? If so, I’m impressed. For those losing TennCare coverage, I can understand their criticism. A grandparent who relies on TennCare could argue it’s more important for their quality of health care to not be shirked so that they can continue to spend time with their grandchildren, rather than their grandchildren receive a free book in the mail. Governor Bredesen is in a bit of a political quagmire. This book program will be a wonderful legacy to leave, but the TennCare situation will be a thorn in his side for some time. And the Tennessean piece doesn’t mention another free learning resource available to everyone- the local public library.

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