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Kansas Kicks off statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

VIDEO: Dolly Parton helps Sevier Co., TN families devastated by wildfires
VIDEO: Dolly Parton helps Sevier Co., TN families devastated by wildfires
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 3:04 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2021 at 3:23 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Governor Laura Kelly, Representative Troy Waymaster and the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund joined American icon Dolly Parton to announce the statewide expansion of her namesake Imagination Library book gifting program. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books to children (0-5 years old) through funding shared by community partners.

“I’m so excited to be working with Governor Laura Kelly and the Kansas Children’s Cabinet to bring my Imagination Library to more children and families across Kansas. Together we can gift a love of reading that will last a lifetime,” Parton said.

The goal of the statewide expansion is to make books available to children in every zip code in Kansas. Kansas has 82 programs covering portions of 77 of Kansas’ 105 counties. Twenty-one percent of eligible children in the state are receiving books through these existing programs.

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 has gifted more than 167 million books in Australia, Canada, The Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“We know that the most important factor in a child’s success in school and in life is an early introduction to books and being read to at home,” Governor Kelly said. “In Kansas, we are proud to connect our kids with the resources they need to succeed through the statewide expansion of the Imagination Library program.”

In year one of the expansion, Kansas will:

  • Form partnerships with community partners. These local partners are the heart of the program. They promote the program online and at in-person events, fundraise, and enroll children who live within their geographical area.
  • Provide start-up funding. Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Renewal (PDG) will provide start-up funding to enroll new children into new programs and work will continue to secure funding to sustain the program in the years ahead.

“I applaud the bipartisan effort to ensure that all children in the state of Kansas, from ages zero to five, will have the opportunity to enhance and enrich their lives with books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library,” Representative Waymaster said.

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