Big Sky Roundup

Dolly Parton’s literacy program Imagination Library expanding in Montana

By: - June 2, 2023 5:09 pm

Photo illustration by Getty Images.

Montana kids in every zip code in the state up to 5 years old will have access to free books courtesy of country singer Dolly Parton in partnership with the state’s first lady.

“I’m so excited to be launching my Imagination Library statewide in Montana!” said Parton in a release from the Governor’s Office on Friday. “I want to send my very special thanks to First Lady Susan Gianforte for her partnership in making this amazing gift available to children and families across the state.”

Parton’s Imagination Library will provide a free book each month to any Montana child, ages 0 to 5 years old, who is registered with the organization. A child can be registered for the program at

The partnership will assist programs already in place while also expanding programs statewide to every zip code in all of Montana’s 56 counties.

According to the release, the first lady’s chief initiatives include boosting literacy among Montana children and promoting and expanding access to STEM education, particularly for girls and students in Montana’s rural communities.

“Literacy is critical for our kids and their development. When parents read to their kids or when a child reads, it engages them, it fires their imagination, and sparks their curiosity,” Susan Gianforte said.

Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Parton’s Imagination Library launched in 1995 and has since become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world. According to the Imagination Library website, one in 10 children under 5 years old in the U.S. receives Imagination Library books.

The flagship program of the nonprofit The Dollywood Foundation has gifted over 200 million free books in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland.

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