Alaska Captures Dolly Parton’s Attention

Imagination Library explodes statewide

Alaska is enrolling more and more children in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and none other than Parton, herself, has taken notice. When Alaska’s enrollment topped 13,000 children receiving Imagination Library books every month, Parton taped a video message congratulating and thanking Alaskans for making it happen.

With the explosion of Imagination Library in Alaska since 2008, Parton has placed the state on her agenda for a future visit, perhaps in 2012.

Best Beginnings has become the statewide coordinating entity for Imagination Library, which mails a high-quality, age-appropriate book each month to children from birth to age 5. The program costs $30 per child, per year, but there is no charge to the family.

Through Best Beginnings’ work with volunteers, 21 local Imagination Libraries are sending books to children in more than 70 communities. In most of the communities, a local entity sponsors, underwrites, or organizes Imagination Library.

“Having new books of their own is a powerful way for children and their parents to become more engaged in positive learning experiences,” said Abbe Hensley, Executive Director of Best Beginnings. “Imagination Library is more than book delivery: it’s a Get-the-Whole-Community-Involved-in-Reading-with-Kids Program.”

Best Beginnings provides technical and administrative assistance and grants to establish new Imagination Libraries. In addition to raising local funds, volunteers promote the program, register the children, provide accompanying family programs, and maintain the enrollment database. In communities that already have an Imagination Library, Best Beginnings helps expand their capacity to send books to more children.

You can learn more about the Alaska Imagination Library project here.