June 17, 2017 10:15:14 PM
India Yarborough - [email protected]
Former librarian Lindsey Beck will serve as the new coordinator for the Lowndes County Imagination Library, a local nonprofit which aims to improve early childhood literacy in the area.
Lowndes County Imagination Library, an affiliate of Dolly Parton's now international Imagination Library, was created in early 2014 through a partnership between The Commercial Dispatch and Columbus Arts Council. It mails books for free to any registered child under the age of 5 in Lowndes County.
"It's exciting to get to work with a program where I get to do what I love," Beck said.
Before joining The Dispatch, Beck served as a library media specialist for Sale Elementary School in Columbus for two years and as the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library's youth services coordinator for four years. She is also vice-president of Mississippi's Magnolia Book Awards, a series of children's choice awards given to books voted on by children and teens throughout the state.
A Hamilton native, Beck moved to Columbus in 2006. She earned a bachelor of science in elementary education from Mississippi University for Women in 2010, followed by a master's degree in library and information science in 2013.
Beck is married to Wilson Beck, head chef and manager of the downtown restaurant Zachary's. They have a 10-month-old son named Avery.
"My favorite thing is making sure kids have access to books," Beck said. "This position is going to allow me to spend time with my own family and continue with my passion of ensuring children have access to appropriate reading materials."
As of August 2015, 1,000 area children were enrolled in the Lowndes County Imagination Library program, which is supported by grants and monetary donations.
"Lindsey is going to help us target at-risk communities so we can focus our book-giving there," said Peter Imes, general manager of The Dispatch. "She's also going to help us measure the impact we're having in Lowndes County."
Parents interested in registering their children can sign up at www.imaginationlibrary.com or stop by The Commercial Dispatch, Columbus Arts Council or Columbus-Lowndes Public Library to fill out a registration form.
Those interested in donating to the program can contact Beck at [email protected] or visit The Dispatch at 516 Main Street in Columbus. A donation of just $25 sponsors a child for one year, allowing them to enjoy 12 months of free books.