PRESS RELEASE: HB 2068 on Dolly Parton’s Birthday

DPIL_(35)_-_BG.jpgUnited Ways of the Pacific Northwest in partnership with The Dollywood Foundation
Brooke Fisher-Clark
Executive Director of WA Imagination Library Expansion

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

PRESS RELEASE: HB 2068 on Dolly Parton’s Birthday
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Olympia, WA - Something magical is happening today for the young children in Washington State!  New legislation was introduced this morning, House Bill 2068, that would recognize Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library as a statewide program in Washington State. Representative Monica Stonier (D-49, Vancouver) and Representative Peter Abbarno (R-20, Centralia) were thrilled with their timing to introduce this bill, as today is Dolly Parton’s 76th birthday.

Parton began the Imagination Library program in 1995 to inspire a love of reading and provide free books to children ages birth to five years old. The bill would create a statewide program that would develop, promote, and sustain local Imagination Library programs across all areas of Washington. The Imagination Library of Washington would be housed under the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a community connected book gifting program and mails quality, age-appropriate books directly to the child’s home at no cost to the families. The program has won national awards including the Library of Congress Best Practice Award for addressing social barriers to literacy, has proven results in school readiness and family engagement and is a strong tool for pandemic literacy recovery.

“One of the best indicators of a child’s education, health, and happiness later in life is whether or not they have books around them in their earliest years. Washington is honored to have a national treasure, Dolly Parton, and her Imagination Library bring those books directly to the hands and homes of our tiniest readers.  As an English teacher, a mom, a reader, and a Dolly Parton fan, I look forward to voting for HB 2068,” stated bill sponsor, Representative Stonier.

“I have participated in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library with my family and supported the program in my community and throughout Southwest Washington for many years. It is an honor to join Rep. Monica Stonier and lead the effort to bring the Imagination Library to children and families throughout the state of Washington. Early education and kindergarten readiness is a priority of mine, and we know it is more effective when programs like this encourage families to read and spend quality time together,” stated Rep. Abbarno.

“The Imagination Library is a program dedicated to ensuring our youngest learners have access to books supporting their growth and development, no matter their family’s income status,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal. “This successful program has continued to grow across our state, and with additional support, we can expand access to these supports for children in all 39 of Washington’s counties.”

“It is a dream come true, and I am so grateful for the support of these state champions,” stated Executive Director of WA Imagination Library Expansion, Brooke Fisher-Clark, who is working to expand the program statewide to provide the opportunity to all Washington early learners. Fisher-Clark works for United Ways of the Pacific Northwest who was awarded a contract with OSPI to expand coverage of the program and support local affiliates with 50 percent match funding to support enrollment growth statewide.

To learn more about the Imagination Library go to: https://imaginationlibrary.com. You can follow House Bill 2068 at leg.wa.gov.

ABOUT UNITED WAYS OF PACIFIC NORTHWEST

United Ways of the Pacific Northwest (UWPNW) is the regional trade association for 34 local United Ways in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.  United Ways in the Pacific Northwest are committed to improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities to advance the common good in the areas of education, income and health.  Our mission is to advance the common good throughout the Pacific Northwest by enhancing the individual and collective ability of member United Ways to impact their communities and collaborate on regional and statewide issues.