The Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Louisville was founded in 2016 through a partnership between the Junior League of Louisville, WAVE 3 News and the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation. Its mission is to put more books in the hands of Jefferson County children in an effort to foster a child’s love of reading and prepare them for kindergarten. We believe that by improving early education in our community, we can contribute to the lifelong success of Jefferson County children.
Beginning in January 2017, children who are enrolled will receive a free book in the mail every month after enrollment until their 5th birthday. The books are addressed to them, and are theirs to keep in order to help families build a library in their home at no cost. Each year, a committee of early childhood education experts selects age appropriate books that work to bring families together and create a culture of reading.
This program can be instrumental to the success of kids in Jefferson County, where nearly half of all children do not enter kindergarten ready to learn. And early success predicts future success, as nearly two-thirds of students who reach the fourth grade without proficient reading skills end up in welfare or in prison.
We believe that future is unacceptable for our children, and are working to directly change the outcome through the Imagination Library.
In its first year, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Louisville served 500 children under the age of 5 who live in the 40202, 40203 and 40208 zip codes. For 2018, the Imagination Library of Louisville has expanded to five new zip codes and will now serve up to 2,500 children. The added zip codes are 40209, 40210, 40211, 40212 and 40215. Anyone living in the 8 zip codes Imagination Library serves, regardless of family income, is welcome to sign up their pre-school children to receive free books. Community partners will continue to work to expand the program to include every zip code in Jefferson County.
The 2018 expansion of the Imagination Library of Louisville is made possible thanks to PNC, the Gheens Foundation, the Rotary Club of Louisville and other generous donors.
Read more about the history of Imagination Library programs around the world by clicking here.