Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program coming to central Alabama

The program mails free books to kids regardless of their family’s income
Dolly Parton’s wildly sucessful program to bring free books to children is coming to central...
Dolly Parton’s wildly sucessful program to bring free books to children is coming to central Alabama!(Katie Reed)
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 5:40 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Dolly Parton’s wildly sucessful program to bring free books to children is coming to central Alabama!

On Thursday, the River Region United Way and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education confirmed that kids under age five from across the area can now take part in the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program.

The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, the Imagination Library mails free, high-quality, age-appropriate books to kids regardless of their family’s income.

The program, first started in 1995, has ballooned in popularity after first being offered only as a way for Parton to increase kids’ readership in the Tennessee county where she grew up. To date, it’s gifted nearly 200 million books to kids around the world!

The United Way hopes to get 10,000 children enrolled in the program by the end of the year and is opening registration at www.rruw.org/DPIL.

“Since its founding, the Imagination Library has been incredibly successful in instilling a lifelong love of reading in children worldwide,” said Jannah Bailey, the president and CEO of the River Region United Way. “We know it will be equally effective here, and I encourage any family interested in creating lifelong memories with their children to register.”

Children 5 and younger are eligible for the program if they live in Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, Macon, or Montgomery counties.

Once enrolled, they’ll get their first book in the mail in about eight to ten weeks, and those books will continue coming in every month until they age out of the program or move from the area.

Bringing the Imagination Library to the River Region has been a priority of the RRUW Board of Directors since the passage of the Alabama Literacy Act in 2019. This law requires all students, beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, to be proficient in reading by the end of the third grade to advance to the fourth grade.

“One of the reasons why some children struggle to learn how to read is because they often lack access to books during the earliest years of life when language skills are being established in their brain,” said W. Rhea Ingram, Ph.D., Chair and Chief Volunteer Officer, River Region United Way Board of Directors. “Research shows that the more exposure we can provide children to books and the more opportunities we can create for adults to read to them, the more likely a child will learn to read by the end of the third grade and thrive in school.”

Anyone or any group interested in supporting the River Region’s continued participation in the Imagination Library can donate by texting Dolly22 to 71777.

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