New legislation makes Imagination Library books available to eligible children

Steve Chapman

Every child under the age of five in the state of Missouri can now receive free books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, thanks to recently passed legislation which is funding the distribution of the books to the children across the state. According to a press release by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), $11 million has been allocated in DESE’s budget for the book distribution.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a program that provides free age-appropriate books to children under the age of five. One book is mailed to the child each month. Singer Dolly Parton started the program in 1995 in her home of Sevier County, Tenn., and in 2000, announced she would expand it to any community willing to support it. Since then, the program has spread not only across the United States, but also Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and England. As of press time, more than 2.8 million children were registered in the program.
Parton issued a statement thanking those involved in making her Imagination Library a statewide program in Missouri.
“I was so excited to hear that now every child in Missouri is eligible for my Imagination Library,” she was quoted as saying in a DESE press release. “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.”
A statement by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson praising Imagination Library was also included in the press release.
“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,” they said in the release. “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.”
To register a child for Imagination Library, call Courtney Hicks at 573-751-4212 or send an email to her at


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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