Artist, businesswoman and philanthropist Dolly Parton started Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in 1995 to distribute books to the poor in the Tennessee county where she grew up.
The nonprofit program was quickly adopted across the state of Tennessee and expanded to five countries.
Washington is the 11th state to commit to statewide coverage.
The Washington Legislature passed Bill 2068 in early March that recognizes Parton’s Imagination Library as a statewide program.
The United Way of the Blue Mountains Board of Directors approved funding for the library in Walla Walla and Columbia counties in December 2021.
“The Imagination Library encourages a love of reading and learning in preschoolers by mailing them a free, age-appropriate book every month until they reach age 5, regardless of family income,” said Christy Lieuallen, executive director of United Way of the Blue Mountains. .
“Children registered at birth will accumulate their own personal library of 60 books!”
To register in Walla Walla and Columbia counties, go to uwbluemt.org/DPII
United Ways of the Pacific Northwest and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction said the statewide expansion of Parton’s Imagination Library provides free age-appropriate books for children from birth to age 5 in every Washington county, regardless of family income.
The Imagination Library of Washington has 28 operating branches covering portions of Washington’s 39 counties and 17,000 eligible children in the state receive free books through these existing programs.
“We know that the age range from birth to age 5 is an extremely important time in the development of reading and expanding access to underserved areas of the state will help prepare the next generation of readers. to succeed,” State Superintendent Chris Reykdal said.
Programs in every county ensure that every early learner is eligible to enroll. Prospective affiliates must be non-profit. Interested parties should contact [email protected]
Affiliates receive monthly financial support of 50% to help them increase registrations. Funding for the expansion is made possible by OSPI, which has contracted with UWPNW to lead the expansion efforts.
For more information, see libraryimagination.com.
Annie Charnley Eveland is a retired editor and journalist. A freelance writer, she produces the weekly column Etcetera Sundays in the Union-Bulletin. Send news with contact name and daytime phone number to [email protected]