Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is coming to four southern Indiana counties. Parents may enroll their children online to receive a free, new book in the mail each month until their fifth birthday.
The book gifting program is funded through a $1 million grant from the CenterPoint Energy Foundation and will be available in Madison, Monroe, Vigo, and Vanderburgh counties for the next five years. CenterPoint was formerly known as Vectren.
The announcement was made in Bloomington at WonderLab Museum’s Science Sprouts Place.
CenterPoint Energy Foundation President Amanda Schmitt says it’s a cause she can easily get behind because literacy is something she emphasized to her children.
“The Little Engine Who Could is one of our favorites, so I love this. It served me well my whole life to be an avid reader and just to learn and explore through books,” Schmitt said.
Entertainment icon Dolly Parton founded the Imagination Library in 1995 with more than 1,700 books. As of last year, the program has distributed 150 million books around the world.
Bloomington community foundation President Tina Peterson says the program will help improve the future of Monroe County.
“If we cannot prepare our children for success in life, we as a community will never achieve our goals,” Peterson said.
Hoosiers Read founder Ben Battaglia says the idea came from former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ Leadership Foundation.
“I’ve met one too many kids that didn’t have books in their home, and that’s what made me want to start this program and get them books.”
Battaglia says the goal is to find enough funding to operate the program in all of Indiana’s 92 counties.