State lawmakers approve expansion of Dolly Parton’s ‘Imagination Library’ program

Mar 6, 2022, 8:13 AM | Updated: Mar 7, 2022, 6:22 am

Dolly Parton, Imagination Library...

Dolly Parton reads a book to young children. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will soon be expanded across Washington, as part of a collaboration with the state superintendent’s office and United Ways of the Pacific Northwest.

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Parton’s Imagination Library program started in Tennessee in 1995, designed as a way to provide free access to books for low-income children in her home county. It has since expanded across the United States, and into five other countries.

The program already operates in Washington across 28 local-level affiliates, but after the passage of HB 2068, it will expand its operations to set up a state-based nonprofit to coordinate its efforts. That nonprofit will be tasked with managing daily operations for the Imagination Library in Washington, developing and promoting a public awareness campaign, and establishing more affiliate branches.

In practice, this expansion will make it so children ages 0 to 5 will have access to free books in all 39 Washington counties.

“We’re thrilled to be able to expand literacy in Washington through this partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and UWPNW,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said in a news release. “We know the birth to five age range is a critically important time in reading development and expanding access to underserved areas across the state will help set up the next generation of readers for success.”

HB 2068 was approved by the state Legislature earlier this week, and will soon cross Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for final approval.

For more details about the Imagination Library’s Washington-based affiliates, visit this link.

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State lawmakers approve expansion of Dolly Parton’s ‘Imagination Library’ program