Prince Edward Island Province-Wide Program Releases Impact Results

Apr 19, 2023 | Canada, Imagination Library

Prince Edward Island Impact Results - Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

In 2020, Prince Edward Island became the first province in Canada to launch Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library as a province-wide initiative.

This effort was spearheaded by Senator Diane Griffin, who learned about the program at the National Legislative Conference in Nashville, TN where Dolly Parton was the keynote speaker. Dolly spoke about her Imagination Library book gifting program and how it provides books to children to instill a love of reading. Dolly’s books gifting program provides a monthly book ensuring all children have access to books.

Senator Griffin worked in partnership with the PEI Literacy Alliance, a local non-profit organization dedicated to promoting literacy and lifelong learning, to launch the program in October 2020. The initiative is funded by the provincial government and private donors, with a goal of providing free books to all children in PEI from birth to age five.

“One of the most important things we can do to improve childhood literacy is to give our children access to books,” said Senator Diane Griffin. “The Imagination Library program promotes learning readiness through literacy and parent-child engagement.”

The PEI Literacy Alliance worked closely with The Dollywood Foundation of Canada to set up the provincial wide program, ensuring all PEI postal codes were open for family registration. The program launched with an initial goal of registering 50% of eligible children. The program launch was enthusiastically promoted through a variety of channels, including social media, traditional media and partnerships with community organizations.

The launch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in PEI was met with overwhelming support from parents, educators and community members. Within six months of the program’s launch, over 4,000 children had been registered, surpassing initial goals. The program is particularly successful in rural communities, where access to books and literacy resources can be limited.

The Imagination Library is more than just a feel-good program: the body of evidence on early brain development shows the importance of reading to young children. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has had a positive impact on literacy rates in PEI, with many parents reporting that the program has helped foster a love of reading in their children. The program has also helped to promote early literacy and language development, which are critical for future academic success. The PEI Literacy Alliance recently published an Impact Report that surveyed the parents of children enrolled into the program.

The launch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in PEI has been a resounding success, demonstrating the power of community partnerships and public-private collaborations in promoting literacy and lifelong learning. The success of the program across PEI serves as an inspiration for other Canadian provinces to consider implementing similar initiatives.

For more information on Province-wide programs contact:
Jeanne Smitiuch
Senior Regional Director
The Dollywood Foundation of Canada 

Prince Edward Island girl holding Dolly Parton's Imagination Library books.