Today is National Book Lovers Day so it was only fitting for Gov. Kay Ivey to announce the statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program with a goal to inspire a love of reading by providing free books every month for children up to the age of 5.
“No matter what a child grows up to be, reading proficiently is simply critical,” Ivey said. “No doubt, learning to read begins at home. Parents are our first teachers, after all.
“It is really important that our parents start reading to our children when they’re just babies. And we must encourage our children to open books during their earliest developmental stages.”
Parton was excited for the Imagination Library to come to Alabama.
“A lot of good people have worked to make our Imagination Library dream for Alabama a reality, but I want to send my very special thanks to Governor Kay Ivey for her leadership in making this happen,” she said.
Ivey said eventually Parton’s program will reach to every part of Alabama.
“This program – through the state and community support – will help to eventually ensure every child in Alabama can receive books directly to their homes every month after they are born until five years of age,” she said.” Since I first announced this effort during my inaugural address in January, we have worked hard to engage community partners all across our state. Our goal is to bring this program to all 67 counties, and we are well on our way to making that a reality.
“So, whether you are a nonprofit or school system, I am calling on you to join with the state in making the Dolly Parton Imagination Library available to children birth to age 5 in every corner of Alabama.”
Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education Acting Secretary Dr. Jan Hume called the free books “priceless”.
“Thank you to Governor Kay Ivey for her continued support of early learning and providing pathways like the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to ensure children in Alabama have a strong start in life,” she said. “We know that reading aloud to children can positively impact their brain development, so having the opportunity to provide free books to parents and children across the state is priceless.
“We will continue to work hard until we have Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in all 67 counties in Alabama.”
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.