Washington Kicks Off Statewide Expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Mar 2, 2022 | Imagination Library, United States

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is Expanding Statewide in Washington!

The Imagination Library will soon be available to all children under five in Washington!

United Ways of the Pacific Northwest (UWPNW) and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) join Dolly Parton on National Read Across America Day to announce the Washington statewide expansion of her namesake Imagination Library book-gifting program. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books each month to children from birth to age five, free of charge through funding shared by local community partners.

“I am so excited to be working with Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal and United Ways of the Pacific Northwest to bring my Imagination Library to more children and families across Washington! Together we can inspire a love of reading that will last a lifetime,” said Dolly. 

Dolly Parton started the program in 1995 as a way to distribute books to the impoverished Tennessee county where she grew up. The state of Tennessee quickly adopted the program statewide. Since then, the nonprofit program has expanded into five countries. Washington is the eleventh state to commit to achieving statewide coverage, with the latest development happening this week, as the Washington legislature voted final passage of House Bill 2068 that will recognize Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library as a statewide program with one last stop, Governor Inslee’s desk for signature.

Goals for Expansion

Through this statewide expansion effort, books will be made available free to children ages birth to five years old in every county in Washington, regardless of the families’ income. Washington’s Imagination Library has 28 operating affiliates covering portions of the 39 counties in Washington, and 17,000 eligible children in the state are receiving free books through these existing programs.

“We’re thrilled to be able to expand literacy in Washington through this partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and UWPNW,” said State Superintendent Chris Reykdal. “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.”

The statewide expansion effort, led by UWPNW’s Executive Director of Washington Imagination Library, Brooke Fisher-Clark will partner with current local program affiliates and assist in establishing new programs in all 39 Washington’s counties. Programs in every county ensure that every early learner is eligible to register. Prospect affiliates must be a 501c3 nonprofit. Interested parties should reach out to Fisher-Clark at [email protected]. Affiliates receive a monthly 50 percent match funding support to assist in growing enrollments. The expansion funding is made possible by OSPI who has contracted with UWPNW to lead the expansion efforts.

“This is so exciting for the children and families of our state! This program will help uplift our communities with its short and long-term proven results and will show the world our children and their opportunities to learn and succeed is our priority as Washingtonians,” said Fisher-Clark.

Register a Child

To enroll Washington children or get involved, go to www.imaginationlibrarywashington.org. Check back often to see if Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has an affiliate in your area or stay tuned to expansion progress and news!