The Imagination Library is now available to all children under five in West Virginia!
The West Virginia Department of Education joined Dolly Parton to announce the statewide expansion of her Imagination Library book gifting program and to encourage parents of young children across West Virginia to participate.
“I am thrilled to share that every child from zero to five in West Virginia is eligible to register for my Imagination Library!” said Dolly. “Together, we can inspire children to Dream More, Care More, Learn More and Be More.”
Established in 1995, this international program provides books to children from birth to age five with a book each month, free of charge, to encourage reading from an early age. In West Virginia, more than 3 million Imagination Library books have been delivered to children since 2007. With this benchmark of full county participation, West Virginia joins only 11 states and the District of Columbia to earn this distinction.
Promoting Early Childhood Literacy
West Virginia’s Imagination Library program, conducted in partnership with the June Harless Center at Marshall University, is a cornerstone of the state’s early literacy efforts. Since 2018, the program has grown from 41 to 55 counties and almost 2 million books have been delivered since that time. By gifting children high-quality books starting at birth, all children have access to developmentally appropriate reading materials at no cost to the family and regardless of the family’s income. Built on decades of research, the Imagination Library is rooted in the belief that having books at home helps children develop literacy skills early in life.
“We cannot overstate the importance of early childhood literacy,” said State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “Early literacy development begins at birth and has a profound impact on children’s future reading ability. The Imagination Library is our opportunity to help children establish healthy reading habits while also developing skills that will be beneficial throughout their academic journey. I want to thank Dolly Parton for opening the world to our children through books in their homes.”
“The Imagination Library is special to us. We love books as a family, but we love getting books in the mail each month,” said Kati Holland, a parent whose child receives Imagination Library books. “I love that the books are age-appropriate and each month the book is a surprise for us.”