Oklahoma to expand Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

The Oklahoma Department of Education is using $2.5 million in federal pandemic relief funds to expand the Imagination Library across all 77 counties in the state.

OKLAHOMA, USA — Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is expanding its availability across Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education announced an investment of $2.5 million in federal pandemic relief funds to expand the Imagination Library to all 77 counties in Oklahoma.

According to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, the OSDE will provide a 1:1 match of all funds raised by local community partners. This will ensure as many as 264,000 children in Oklahoma from birth to age five have free, high-quality, age-appropriate books mailed to their homes on a monthly basis.

“The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in well-documented learning disruptions. The impacts on our youngest learners are particularly troubling and appear to be most severe among our most vulnerable student populations,” Hofmeister said. “These challenges underscore the need for robust early literacy interventions to help our get kids back on track. We are thrilled to partner with Dolly Parton, one of the world’s most noted supporters of early literacy, to help our kids build critical literacy skills before they ever step foot in Pre-K.”

Beloved superstar Dolly Parton started the Imagination Library program in 1995 as a way to give books to children in the impoverished Tennessee County she grew up.

To date, the program has given away more than 178 million books for free to kids across three continents. Oklahoma is the 12th state to commit to achieving statewide coverage.

“I’m so excited to be working with Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and the Oklahoma State Department of Education to bring my Imagination Library to Oklahoma. Together let’s inspire a love of reading and learning in every child in Oklahoma,” Parton said in a video posted by the OSDE.

The funding structure for the program centers on community partnerships. With the OSDE’s 1:1 match, each Oklahoma affiliate will be responsible for just $1.05 per child per month.

There are currently 13 affiliates operating in Oklahoma, serving more than 4,000 of the state’s eligible children. Another six affiliates are in the process at this time.

The OSDE’s investment in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Oklahoma will be funded through 2024 and is a component of Ready Together Oklahoma: An Action Plan for Supporting Students Through the Pandemic and Beyond.

Click here for more information about the program in Oklahoma.

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