INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Eric Holcomb is launching a statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which gifts free, high-quality, age-appropriate books to children from birth to age five on a monthly basis, regardless of family income.
Holcomb announced the expansion as part of his 2023 Next Level Agenda.
The goal of the expansion is to make books available to children five years old and younger in every zip code in Indiana. The program is free to enrolled children and will soon be available to more children and families in Indiana.
“I learned from a very young age that reading is the key to further education and opportunity ahead, long-term,” Holcomb said. “The very ability to read can transport children and adults alike to places they have never been and open doors they never knew existed. By making Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library available in every zip code, we are giving Hoosier children yet another personalized tool close to home they’ll need for literary success.”
On May 4, Holcomb signed legislation into law that allotted $6 million over the biennium, $2 million in the first year and $4 million in the second year, as part of a community share to expand the program to every zip code in the state.
“It takes a lot of great people working together to make this possible, and I want to thank Governor Holcomb, the Indiana General Assembly, State Librarian Jake Speer and all our local community partners across the state who helped make this dream a reality,” Dolly Parton said.
The Indiana State Library will coordinate the program and provide the state’s match to interested organizations or individuals to become local program partners. Currently in Indiana, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is available in 54 counties and is partially available in eight counties, with expansion plans to fully cover the entire state — all 92 counties. Starting Sept. 1, current local Imagination Library partners will only pay 50% of their local program cost with the remaining 50% paid by the state.
“Early literacy is very important, and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program makes reading fun and exciting for children and their families,” said Jake Speer, Indiana State Librarian. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with existing and new partners in Indiana to get statewide coverage of this program.”