Dolly Parton's Imagination Library goes statewide in Illinois: Free books for kids under five

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Program is expanding statewide in Illinois.

The program dispatches complimentary age-appropriate books to children aged zero to five, irrespective of their family's financial status.

"I am thrilled to declare Illinois's expansion of my Imagination Library statewide. Gratitude to Governor J.B. Pritzker and the local program partners for making this a reality," said Parton.

Pritzker's 2024 budget will earmark $1.6 million for the program, aiming to bolster early childhood learning and foster enduring reading habits within the state. Presently operational in 40 Illinois counties, benefitting more than 30,000 children, the program anticipates full coverage across the entire state post-expansion.

"Today marks Illinois's commitment to afford every child under five the chance to enroll and receive a free monthly book delivery, a milestone I'm immensely proud of," said Pritzker.

Acknowledging the influential role of early literacy in language and social development, Pritzker emphasized the significance behind the funding allocation in the FY24 budget to facilitate this partnership, aligning with the state's pivotal early childhood education objectives.

Initiated by Dolly Parton in 1988, the Imagination Library Program, inspired by her father's literacy struggles, operates as a nonprofit organization. Originating in Sevier County, Tennessee, it has dispersed over 220 million free books in several countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and The Republic of Ireland. The program dispatches over 2.8 million books monthly.

To ensure comprehensive participation in Illinois, the program seeks new local partners while encouraging existing programs to expand their capacity for registering additional children. For further details, visit