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Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library awaits Beshear’s signature to expand statewide

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT
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When a child is signed up for the Imagination Library, they get a book every month from birth...
When a child is signed up for the Imagination Library, they get a book every month from birth through the age of 5. That means they are building their own personal library.(WAVE 3 News)
Imagination Library of Louisville
Imagination Library of Louisville(Cleared)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Many parents put their young children to bed with a book. The goal of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is to make that possible for every single child by sending free books to homes with kids age 5 years old and under.

WAVE 3 News helped bring the program to Louisville, and now it looks like it will expand to the entire state.

Kentucky Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville) is a father of three kids and has read more than his fair share of children’s books.

“Every parent knows this: if your kid has a favorite book, you end up memorizing that book because you read it to them over and over again. They’re hearing that language, hearing that concept,” McGarvey said Tuesday.

Now, with the help of McGarvey and the support of Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), state legislators have agreed to fund for one year the expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Kentucky. It’s now waiting for Governor Andy Beshear’s signature.

The program mails a free age-appropriate book to children under 5 years old every month.

“There was a study done in Wayne county, Kentucky, and they took kids who were in the Imagination Library, and they did 5% better on kindergarten readiness tests than people who didn’t have access to Imagination Library, and those scores continued all the way throughout [school],” McGarvey said.

This would be a private/public partnership with the state providing $800,000 and the Imagination Library affiliates, including the one in Louisville, would provide funding as well.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library said the funding plan is similar to what’s already in place in Tennessee, North Carolina, Delaware, Ohio, Arkansas and soon Colorado and Oklahoma.

“We’re growing very quickly and it’s just a joy to be part of the growth,” Jeff Conyers with Imagination Library said.

The goal is to get the program up and going in the first year, and then hopefully in one year it will be added to the budget again for two years, allowing every single household in the state who wants to be in the program to sign up.

If you’d like to see if your child is eligible, go to the website at imaginationlibrarylouisville.org. Once the money is finalized, more zip codes will be added.

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