Local Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program to receive $35,000 grant for Payne County children

Story provided by United Way of Payne County and Stillwater Public Library

The Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Foundation, Inc. awarded a $35,000 grant to United Way of Payne County (UWPC) for Payne County’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program.

“A huge thanks goes to Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Foundation, Inc. for understanding the incredible value of early literacy and investing in our community,” UWPC Executive Director Ruth Cavins said. “This is an amazing opportunity for our county’s children and families.”

UWPC partners with Stillwater Public Library to manage Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which delivers free, age-appropriate books to children from birth to five years old. 

In 2023, the program distributed 17,277 books to 1,598 children in Payne County, including Stillwater, Cushing, Perkins, Ripley, Glencoe and Yale. This April, the program reached its funding capacity totaling 1,600 children and online registration was closed.

“The award of this grant was made possible due to the culmination of many people working together.  We want to thank all the early stakeholders and investors who got this program off the ground and supported it through its first year,” Cavins said.

With this grant, UWPC estimates having enough funding to support 100% of eligible Payne County children. Online registration has reopened and all children (from birth up to age 5) are encouraged to sign up. Those on the waiting list will move to active status.

Parents and guardians can register their children or donate by visiting www.unitedwaypaynecounty.org/dolly

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has gifted over 200 million free books in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland. This is achieved through funding shared by The Dollywood Foundation and Local Community and Payne County, Oklahoma Partners.  The Imagination Library mails more than 2.6 million high-quality, age-appropriate books directly to children’s homes each month. Each child enrolled in the program receives one book per month from birth to age five – at no cost to families.  Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading and inspiring children to Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More.

The program’s impact has been widely researched, and results demonstrate its positive impact on early childhood development and literacy skills. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information, please visit imaginationlibrary.com.