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Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has made its way to Colorado. Parton’s program launched in 1995 and gifts one book per month to children from birth through 5 years old regardless of economic status. So far, 170,824,458 books have been gifted to the 1,899,903 kids registered for the program.

On Nov. 30, Gov. Jared Polis released a video announcing the Colorado expansion of Parton’s Imagination Library.

“One of my goals is to make Colorado the very best state for children and families,” said Polis. “We know the most important factor in a child’s success is early introduction to books, and we’re proud to start connecting more children to books with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program that embodies our commitment to making sure that every family and child thrives.”

Polis continued by praising Parton’s work. “I want to thank American icon Dolly Parton, who made such a powerful dream a reality and who has changed the lives of countless children for the better across the nation and now more kids right here in Colorado.”

Currently, the Imagination Library program is not available in many counties throughout Colorado. The goal of Imagination Library of Colorado and the State of Colorado, however, is to have one affiliate in each of Colorado’s 64 counties so that all children in Colorado have access to enroll in the program.

Elizabeth residents have expressed their interest in Parton’s Imagination Library and hope that it makes its way to Elbert County very soon.

Aly Thompson of Elizabeth, a mother of twins due to be born around the new year, shared her excitement for the program.

“I’d love to sign up for something like this!” said Thompson. “Books are really important, and this seems like a great way to get more books in the house and a way to connect and help teach our kiddos. I also think the program would benefit Elbert County, helping kids learn about different cultures and ideas.”

Roxanne Aviles, another Elizabeth local and a kindergarten teacher with Aurora Public Schools, is also thrilled with the news, explaining the benefits of early literacy.

“As a kindergarten teacher and mother of six, I was ecstatic to hear that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is expanding in state of Colorado. I can’t wait until children across Elbert County are able to take part in this amazing program,” said Aviles. “Placing books in the hands of children is so important. Not only does reading allow children to tap into their imaginations, but it helps build a robust vocabulary and provides them with the opportunity to begin exploring letters and sounds at an early age.”

Though Parton’s Imagination Library expansion to Elbert County is something to look forward to, other programs are available through the Pines & Plain Libraries system to provide books to children and encourage reading.

Paid for by the Growing Readers Together grant, the Pines & Plains Libraries 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program helps children work toward meeting a reading goal before they begin school.

Every child enrolled in the program receives a notebook where parents can log the book that the child reads, a free book to get started with, and list of great books to read before kindergarten. Rewards and awards are given for reaching book-reading milestones.

The program is meant to teach narrative skills, phonological awareness, print motivation, vocabulary, print awareness, and letter knowledge, ultimately preparing children for kindergarten-level literacy.

To learn more about the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten with the Pines & Plains Libraries, visit pplibraries.org/03a-child-activities or visit your local library.

To learn more about the Colorado division of Parton’s Imagination Library, visit imaginationlibrarycolorado.org.

For more information on Parton’s Imagination Library, visit imaginationlibrary.com.

To watch Polis’ announcement of the Colorado Imagination Library expansion, visit tinyurl.com/PolisImagLibrary.

If you are interested in working toward bringing the Imagination Library to Elbert County, visit imaginationlibrarycolorado.org/new-affiliate.