Imagination Library Grows on Whidbey

Whidbey Community Foundation (WCF) is excited to share that since becoming an affiliate for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library over 870 children on Whidbey have been enrolled! This program provides free books to all children under five in the county, regardless of family income.

WCF Board and Staff, along with some Whidbey Island students, promoting Imagination Library books at last month’s Board meeting.

“Whidbey Community Foundation is deeply grateful to our community for rapidly embracing Imagination Library and for helping us to reach more children month after month. We are also thankful for Dolly Parton and The Dollywood Foundation for creating this program to support our youngest readers! Improving early childhood literacy creates opportunities for children to thrive so that they can succeed in school and help their communities grow and prosper. A program like this truly benefits our community as a whole.”

Jessie Gunn, Executive Director.
Maureen Rice, Program Associate, and Jessie Gunn, Executive Director, promoting Imagination Library books at last month’s Board meeting.

Since December 2022, WCF has worked with our local libraries, pediatricians, early learning professionals and more to spread the words about this amazing program. We would not have been able to reach as many children as we have in such a short time if not for the help of our community partners.

Imagination Library is just one way WCF aims to support early learning on Whidbey. By acting as Fiscal Sponsor for the Partners For Young Children Coalition (PYC) and by prioritizing early learning in past Annual Grant Cycles, WCF hopes to create a more vibrant island for even the youngest Whidbey Islanders.

Thanks to several donors—including the Uplift Fund and the Music for the Eyes Fund (both held at WCF), and the West Family Foundation—Imagination Library on Whidbey will be fully funded through 2023. On average, $25 will cover the cost of books and mailing for one child for a year.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails high quality, age-appropriate books each month to children from birth to five years old, at no cost to the family. This early literacy program is proven to achieve equitable access to books, increase school readiness, foster a love of reading and books, and improve family engagement. Dolly’s inspiration behind creating the Imagination Library in 1995 in her home state of Tennessee can be attributed to her father and his inability to read. Inspiring kids to love to read became her mission and to-date, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gifted over 195 million books to children in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and the Republic of Ireland.

Thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word, donated or enrolled a child. We look forward to continuing to partner with you to provide Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to the early readers of Whidbey.

All families with children ages 0-5 on Whidbey Island are eligible to register and begin receiving a free book for their child every month, mailed directly to their home until the child’s fifth birthday. Families can enroll online by visiting our website.