LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Dolly Parton’s wildly successful reading program for kids will celebrate a major milestone in its Louisville efforts with special coverage on WAVE 3 News on Friday afternoon.
To mark the delivery of 50,000 free books to the children of Louisville, the station will share stories from children, parents and supporters throughout the afternoon, and show viewers how they can help the program grow.
Parton launched her Imagination Library in 1995 in her home of Sevier County, Tenn., as a way to honor her father, who never learned to read. The program mails a free, age-appropriate book every month to kids from birth through their fifth birthday. Working with thousands of affiliated non-profits, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has now delivered nearly 150 million books in five countries, becoming one of the largest literacy efforts in the history of the world. Research has shown kids who participated in the program read at a higher level in Kindergarten and beyond.
WAVE 3 News, the Junior League of Louisville and the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation teamed up to bring the program to Louisville in 2017, and launched it as a standalone program in 2020. Imagination Library of Louisville, Inc., is now an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit run entirely by volunteers, but housed at the WAVE 3 News studios. Several members of the WAVE 3 News team, including Shannon Cogan, serve on the organization’s board and others volunteer in various ways.
The Imagination Library of Louisville currently serves more than 1,700 kids in eight Louisville ZIP codes, but there’s room to grow. On Friday, several organizations will make gifts to help with future expansion of the program, and viewers will be able to pitch in as well. They’ll also see a sneak peek of a new feature-length documentary about Imagination Library that will premiere on Dec. 9.
Coverage will begin during WAVE 3 Listens with John Ramsey at 1 p.m. and continue through a special edition of WAVE Country at 2 p.m., hosted Friday by Shannon Cogan. We’ll also have more stories on WAVE’s newscasts throughout the evening.
Click here to donate to Imagination Library of Louisville.