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Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) was founded in 1995 in east Tennessee. Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Dolly started the Imagination Library for the children in her home county. Today, the program spans four countries and mails over one million free books each month to children around the world. DPIL provides the infrastructure of the core program including managing the secure central database for the Book Order System and coordinating book selections and wholesale purchasing. DPIL also incurs the cost of the program’s administrative expenses and coordinates the monthly mailings.
Local affiliates are responsible for enrolling children who live within the geographical area offered. While the national Imagination Library negotiates wholesale pricing for the books, local affiliates are responsible for securing funds to cover that cost. Books are 100% free to enrolled children because the local affiliate covers the cost of the books and shipping fees. Pulaski County Imagination Library is the local affiliate for Pulaski County, Arkansas!
Pulaski County Imagination Library (PCIL) was officially created in 2015 by State Representative Clarke Tucker. As an advocate for early childhood education and as the father of two, Tucker recognized the importance of early access to books in order for children to be Kindergarten ready. He often cited the National Commission on Reading finding, “The number one predictor of academic success — beyond parental education, socioeconomic status, or geographic location — is the number of books in a child’s home.” With the ambitious goal of starting the largest Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library affiliate in Arkansas, he set out to raise the funds necessary to begin sending books to children in Pulaski County.
With a remarkable team of educators, policy makers, and community advocates on its Board of Directors, Pulaski County Imagination Library delivered its first books in May 2018. Under the guidance of Executive Director, Hannah Vogler, PCIL now has nearly 40 physical registration sites throughout the county, as well as online registration.
Moreover, PCIL has been extremely successful registering children for Imagination Library. As of July 2020, 8,230 children receive a book every month — nearly 40% higher than the national Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library originally estimated for the affiliate. PCIL has also delivered over 140,000 books throughout Pulaski County.
With such success comes greater financial need. Each book delivered costs PCIL $2.10, and with growing registration each month, the expenses of administering the program are significant. PCIL partners with school districts, city and county governments, and local businesses to cover the cost of distributing books throughout the county. Individuals are also invited (and encouraged) to make donations to help support the cause. A donation of $25 covers the cost of one child for one year and $125 covers the cost for one child from birth through his or her fifth birthday. PCIL is also happy to give a presentation to your community or civic group to share the remarkable impact this program has on early literacy development for young children! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.