Nancy Shores works as a friend at the library | Wednesday’s wife

The library has always been a passion for Nancy Shores.

The 66-year-old has memories of her grandmother working at the library in her hometown of Indiana. She remembers going through a swinging door and playing under the counter as a child. She even has books she bought from this library that contain her grandmother’s handwriting or the library card where Shores herself borrowed the book.

“I love libraries in general,” she said.

She got her first library card at the age of 7 and always consulted books when the mobile library arrived at school.

She has lived in Hardin County for 41 years and is currently president of the Friends of Hardin County Library and works with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in the area.

She became involved in the Friends of the Library organization in 2013 when a group of community members met to discuss future plans for the library. This group decided to restart the non-profit library partner.

They help raise funds for the library to provide necessities that are not in its budget. They also advocate for the library and raise funds for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

Library director Rene Hutcheson said Shores was a good leader for the group of friends.

“She understands our inadequate funding situation and never turns down an opportunity to fundraise for our library group, especially when children are the direct beneficiaries,” she said. “She is a strong advocate for libraries and literacy and one of the most reliable people I have ever met as she often works behind the scenes.”

Hutcheson said patrons may not realize that Shores is at the library sorting through donated books by herself for three or four hours at a time.

“Any organization would be lucky to have Nancy’s dedication, and we’re lucky she has a passion for libraries,” she said.

One of the first things Shores did when she joined Friends of the Library was to handle book sales at the library.

“Then I became secretary, then president, then we hired Dolly Parton,” Shores said.

At first, the Elizabethtown Independent School System was the local branch of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, but it could only serve children in the school district. When the organizers wanted the program to expand across the county, the library was invited to become an affiliate and the library manager asked Friends of the Library to support it.

A group must be a nonprofit organization registered with the IRS to be affiliated. An affiliate, she says, provides the money to buy the books and pays for the postage.

Once a child is registered and entered into the Imagination Library system, there is no physical work on the affiliate side except raising funds for the partnership. In short, local affiliates provide the money, Parton’s organization handles the logistics, Shores said.

The books are given to children aged 0 to 5 years. The first book they receive is the one Parton chose specifically for the first book, “The Little Engine That Could.”

The cost per child is about $2 per month, Shores said. Individually it’s not a lot, but multiplied by hundreds or thousands it can be a lot, she said.

To ensure the nonprofit can continue the program, Shores said it capped it at 600 children.

Shores visits service organizations and businesses to secure promises of payment for the program.

“Not too many people think that’s a bad idea,” she said.

Shores likes the program because it’s a way to get books to kids.

“If you put books in the hands of a child at a young age, hopefully it will instill a love of reading in that child,” she said. “For me, reading is the key to success.”

Shores said she volunteers to promote literacy and a love of reading.

“I love to read, so I think everyone should love to read,” she said.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1416 [email protected]

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