This Nationwide Program Provides Free Books for Kids

Imagination Library, Dolly Parton’s early childhood literacy program, expands into the tri-state.

Illustration by Zanna Goldhawk

In her home county of Sevier, Tennessee, Dolly Parton learned long ago that a little support for young people goes a long way in securing their futures. Promising each graduating senior $500 with her Dollywood Foundation, created in 1988, she reduced dropout rates by 29 percent. In 1995, the country star founded Imagination Library, sending each child in the county a free book a month from birth to age 5. Starting with that first order of 1,700 books, the program has continued to grow. Since expanding in 2000 to include partnerships worldwide, today Imagination Library ships more than a million books per month. Each age-appropriate title—promoting self-esteem, confidence, regard for diversity, and appreciation of art—is selected by a committee of parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and child development and literacy specialists. Now local kids can enroll, thanks to partnerships with the state of Ohio and Campbell County Schools, plus independent school districts in Bellevue, Dayton, Ft. Thomas, and Newport.

Facebook Comments