A newly enacted bill will now provide millions of children in California with free books thanks to Dolly Parton.
The law project, SB 1183was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom and will provide funding for Parton’s “Library of the Imagination” program, offering free books to children from birth to 5 years old.
Aimed at encouraging preschoolers to develop an early love of reading and learning, the bill received bipartisan support in both houses.
Free books will be mailed directly to the child’s home at no cost to their family. The program is expected to start in June 2023.
Parents or legal guardians can enroll their child in the online program. Children will receive one free book per month until their 5th birthday.
The statewide program will cover all 58 counties in California with up to 2.4 million children eligible to participate. Bilingual options will also be available in California, marking a first for the program.
Founded in 1995, Imagination Library originated in the hometown of Parton, Tennessee. Since the state of Tennessee adopted the program, it has expanded to 14 states and five countries, donating more than 186 million pounds.
“Today marks an important day, the start of a wonderful, statewide program that will put books in the hands of Californian children at a young age, opening the door to limitless possibilities for their future.” , said Senator Shannon Grove, co-author of the bill.
“Growing up with very little money in Southwest Virginia, my parents taught me that books were my ticket to see the world,” said Senator Toni Atkins, co-author of the bill. . “A deep love of reading and learning is the greatest gift they’ve ever given me – it’s so special to be able to pass that on to kids all over California. And, to be able to do that in partnership with my friend, Senator Grove, and my country music idol, Dolly Parton, is just the icing on the cake.
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