ALABAMA (WHNT) – Governor Kay Ivey launched the statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Alabama on Wednesday.

Country legend Dolly Parton began the Imagination Library in 1995 in order to help provide reading materials for children. It provides free books every month to children from birth to five years old.

For perspective, the non-profit has gifted over 213 million books since its inception.

“Inspiring kids to love to read became my mission. In the beginning, my hope was simply to inspire the children in my home county but here we are today with a worldwide program that gives a book a month to well over 1 million children,” Parton said in a letter.

While the program has grown to several states across the U.S., it has also expanded overseas. These locations include Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

“No matter what a child grows up to be, reading proficiently is simply critical…” Governor Ivey said. “It is really important that our parents start reading to our children when they’re just babies. And we must encourage our children to open books during their earliest developmental stages.”

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The program will ensure every child in Alabama can receive books directly to their homes. The plan is to have local programs in each of the 67 counties, and there are programs in 55 counties already, according to Gov. Ivey’s office.

Local program partners and affiliates must be a 501c3, which includes businesses, school districts, libraries, local foundations and others. You can learn more about becoming a community partner by contacting Kahla Williams at

If you are a parent of guardian interested in enrolling in the program and learning more as it is expanded across the state, visit the Imagination Library’s website here.