Children in Colorado ages five and under are eligible to receive one free book per month, thanks to the incomparable Dolly Parton.

According to yesterday's statement from Governor Polis, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library will go statewide.

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What Exactly Is Dolly Parton's Imagination Library?

According to the Imagination Library's official site:

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books free of charge to children from birth to age five, through funding shared by Dolly Parton and local community partners in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Republic of Ireland.

Where Did This Idea Come From?

Have you ever read Dolly Parton's autobiography? If you haven't, I recommend reading it right away. It's a fascinating, inspiring story. One part of her childhood she shares in her autobiography involves her father's inability to read. This part of her childhood inspired Dolly to launch a program in 1995 providing reading material for kids in her home county.

Since then, the Imagination Library has grown exponentially, reaching states all over the United States, as well as other countries.

The Imagination Library in Colorado

Yesterday, Wednesday, December 1, 2021, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said, "I am thrilled to announce the statewide launch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library here in Colorado,” The Estes Park Trail Gazette reports Polis added, "Knowing how vital early childhood education is to the future of our children and our state, we couldn’t be more excited about the mission of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.”

How Colorado Kids Can Enroll in the Program

Children in Colorado are eligible to receive one free book every month until they turn six years old. Kids can register at https://imaginationlibrary.com/.

Once a child is registered, they are eligible to receive a free book every month until they turn six years old. To date, there have been 1,921,027 children registered for the program and 170,824,458 total books gifted.

According to the Estes Park Trail Gazette , Estes Valley Library Director Claudine Perrault, the person appointed to review the request for proposal for Colorado to take the Imagination Library program statewide, "We’ve been enthusiastic fans of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library project for a long time, and looking forward to seeing it shared in our valley. Countless studies have shown that getting books into the hands and homes of young children is one of the best investments in their future success. This is a win for Colorado and for Estes Park. It will expand upon a program we currently offer, which mails 100 free English or Spanish books to local preschoolers in their year before entering Kindergarten. Got a 4-year-old? Ask us, and we’ll get you signed up.”

How Many Books Have Been Distributed Thus Far?

According to the official website, as of October 2021, the Imagination Library has given out 168,926,241 books.

Award Received by This Program

The Estes Park Trail Gazette reports the Library of Congress awarded the Imagination Library with the $150,000 2021 David M. Rubenstein Prize.

The Goal Here in Colorado

According to the Estes Park Trail Gazette, the goal with the new state-wide expansion is to make books available to children in every zip code in the state of Colorado. Previously, the state had 30 programs covering only segments of Colorado's 64 counties.

Dolly's Heart is In This

Check out the photo at the top of this post. That's Dolly performing at a concert to benefit Dolly's Imagination Library & Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation at The University of Tennessee's Thompson-boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee. She's working hard on this project on every front.

Well, there you go, yet another reason to love Dolly Parton. I have musical friends who despise Country music, but even they have tremendous love and respect for Dolly. It's easy to understand why.

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