Governor Laura Kelly Announces Increased Funding to Double the Impact of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Programs in Kansas

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Written by: Press Release Posted by David Elliott
Publication date: 01-07-2022

Governor Laura Kelly announced that the Kansas Children’s Cabinet will begin matching dollar-for-dollar investments made by local Dolly Parton Imagination Library programs to accelerate efforts to promote a love of reading in every Kansas child.

This additional funding is made possible by a line item to add $500,000 to the Children’s Initiatives Fund that the Governor included in his fiscal year 2023 budget proposal, which the Legislature passed. Kansas children who participate in the Imagination Library program will receive an age-appropriate book from birth to age five. The goal of this additional funding is to increase the number of children enrolled and expand the reach of local contributions.

“We know that one of the most important factors for early learning and development is an early introduction to books and reading at home,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Community organizations in Kansas currently connect more than 42,500 children with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library’s book donation each month. This new funding will allow the program to reach even more Kansas children.”

As of September 2021, the Kansas Children’s Cabinet has been working to expand access to the DPIL to all children under age five throughout Kansas, regardless of income level or family background. Since each family must be registered with a local community program, involving nonprofit organizations is essential. Efforts to date have resulted in an increase from 82 to 98 community programs, adding coverage in 65 additional postcodes in a total of 91 counties. This additional funding will help cultivate even more local community programs.

“As a father, I know the joy of reading with your child,” said state Rep. Troy Waymaster. “Shortly after our son was born, we enrolled him in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. All children in the state of Kansas should also be able to participate in this program. I am committed to ensuring that all children in the state of Kansas, zero to five, will have that opportunity.”

Since its launch in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has become the largest early childhood book donation program in the world. The Dollywood Foundation’s flagship program has given away over 182 million free books in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Australia. The Imagination Library sends more than 1.8 million high-quality, age-appropriate books each month to children enrolled from birth to age five. Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading, inspiring them to dream. The impact of the program has been well researched and results suggest positive increases in key early childhood literacy metrics. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information, visit imaginationlibrary.com. Nonprofits interested in becoming a local community partner should contact Pam Hunsaker at [email protected]

(Information courtesy of the Governor’s Office.)

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