Children across California will soon be able to receive a free book in the mail every month, thanks to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and bipartisan bill SB 1183.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill on September 30 establishing the Imagination Library of California to work with local partners in each county to mail free, age-appropriate books directly to California’s early readers every month beginning June 2023, from birth until age five.
“I’m so thrilled at the overwhelming support to make my Imagination Library available to every child in California!” Parton says on her website. “We still have a lot of work to do, but together we can inspire a love of reading in children across California that will last a lifetime.”
Since 2004, Parton’s nonprofit program has gifted more than 186 million books across five countries and one out of every 10 children under the age of five in the United States receives a book in the mail each month. California is the fifteenth state to commit to the program.
The state’s 2022-23 budget includes $68.2 million in one-time funding to establish the book giveaway under the direction of the State Librarian in partnership with The Dollywood Foundation.
More than 200 local children are currently enrolled in the Imagination Library program sponsored by United Way of San Luis Obispo County, who has made more than 20,000 books available already to local children.