Missouri Announces Statewide Expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Nov 08, 2023

All Missouri children under five years old are now able to register for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. There is no deadline to register. The Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by providing age-appropriate books each month to children free of charge. In order to receive books, a parent or guardian must register their child on the Imagination Library national website

. Books will be mailed directly to the homes of registered children every month.

"I was so excited to hear that now every child in Missouri is eligible for my Imagination Library!” said Dolly. “I want to personally thank the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Childhood, Governor Parson, and everyone else involved for making this happen."

“Ensuring young children are exposed to reading early in life sets students up for success down the road, and access to high-quality books is a huge part of that process,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “Missouri is the 14th state to commit to a statewide program, but no other state has been fully funded, with all children under age five eligible on the first day of the statewide program. This is certainly a day to celebrate, and like, Dolly, we thank Governor Parson and the General Assembly for their support.”

“We are proud to partner with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to bring quality educational resources to more Missouri children and help inspire a passion for reading and learning,” said Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson. “The education of Missouri children is near and dear to us, and we know learning starts early. Even simple access to quality books at a young age can make a transformational difference in the life of a child as they grow older and seek to achieve their own American Dream. We appreciate Dolly, her team, and DESE for helping make this possible and encourage all eligible Missouri parents to utilize this program.”

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has already been available in some areas of the state thanks to the great work of the 57 local affiliates that distribute books to more than 17,000 Missouri children. Those children currently registered will be automatically enrolled in the new statewide program.

The statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was made possible through Section 178.694, RSMo, and $11 million included in DESE’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget for the distribution of books.

Learn more about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Missouri here. Media can access approved promotional materials on this link as well.

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has gifted over 200 million free books in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland. This is achieved through funding shared by The Dollywood Foundation and Local Community or State Partners. The Imagination Library mails more than 2.6 million high-quality, age-appropriate books directly to children’s homes each month. Each child enrolled in the program receives one book per month from birth to age five - at no cost to families. Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading and inspiring children to Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More.

The program’s impact has been widely researched, and results demonstrate its positive impact on early childhood development and literacy skills. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information, please visit ImaginationLibrary.com