FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Rep. Tammy Townley
Phone: (405) 557-7326
Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore, today celebrated the announcement from the State Dept. of Education (SDE) that Dolly Parton's Imagination Library will expand to all 77 counties in Oklahoma.
"Reading, especially from an early age, increases children's reading comprehension and imagination before they even enter a formal academic setting," Townley said. "All of Oklahoma's kids deserve access to age-appropriate books and I'm thrilled the Imagination Library will soon be available in each of our counties."
Country music star Dolly Parton founded the Imagination Library, which encourages pre-school children to read by providing books to the homes of children age birth to five on a monthly basis, in her home state of Tennessee in 1995. The organization now serves children across the United States and internationally.
In 2020, Townley authored Senate Bill 1803 with Sen. John Haste, R-Broken Arrow. The bill created the Imagination Library Fund to help develop and promote the Imagination Library Program in Oklahoma and directed SDE to oversee the fund.
“In 2019, I heard Dolly Parton speak about her Imagination Library," Haste said. "The program was proven to increase reading time and kindergarten readiness, and I knew this was something we needed to have in Oklahoma. When children have their very own books, they are more likely to develop a love and appreciation of reading that will help them succeed in school and throughout life. I’m so excited that Oklahoma’s Imagination Library is now a reality."
Funding for each county will be developed in partnership with a nonprofit agency within each county. SDE will provide a 1:1 match of all funds raised by local community partners. There are currently 13 fully funded counties within the state.