West Chester, PAMarch 5, 2024 – In honor of Read Across America Week, state legislators are teaming up to expand a free book-giving program started by country music legend Dolly Parton to children across Pennsylvania.  

State Senator Carolyn Comitta, state Senator John Kane, state Senator Maria Collett, and state Representative Liz Hanbidge this week introduced legislation to expand Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library statewide.  

The program, established through the Dollywood Foundation in 1995, mails high-quality age-appropriate books to all registered children, from birth to age 5, at no cost to the child’s family.   

Currently, more than 53,000 Pennsylvania children are enrolled in the Imagination Library across 44 counties. However, there are approximately 700,000 eligible children in the Commonwealth.  

The legislation, introduced by Comitta, Kane, and Collett (Senate Bill 1097) in the Senate and by Hanbidge (House Bill 2025) in the House, calls for establishing a statewide Imagination Library program to support local affiliates with resources to reach even more children.  

“As a mother, a grandmother, and a former public school teacher, I know just how important promoting literacy and reading readiness is in early childhood education and development,” said Comitta, who serves on the Senate Education Committee. “Children learn by reading and the Imagination Library helps make reading a habit at home. By giving them a new book each month, this program empowers kids to pursue independent reading, learn at their own pace, and explore new areas of interest.” 

“I am always honored to advocate for legislation that bookmarks a new chapter in Pennsylvania’s education resources,” said Kane. “The Imagination Library sparks a love for books in kids from their earliest years, raising a new generation of book lovers across the Commonwealth. This initiative shows just how much we believe in our kiddos’ futures and how committed we are to enriching education in our state. I can’t wait to see the effect this will have on our young readers.” 

“Making reading fun and accessible is key to promoting early literacy and setting our kids up for a lifetime of success. As a book lover myself, I’m so pleased to join Senators Comitta and Kane and Representative Hanbidge to ensure children in every corner of our Commonwealth can receive free, monthly book deliveries through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library,” Collett said.  

“Books have the power to free the mind, nourish the soul, and set students up for success! I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with my colleagues in the House, and Senators Comitta, Kane, and Collett, to ensure that every young child in the commonwealth has the opportunity to develop a love for books and the educational leg up provided by early access to literacy,” said Hanbidge.   

From distributing 1,700 books in its first order nearly 20 years ago, the Imagination Library has grown to send more than 2 million books per month to children in states across the nation and countries around the world, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland. In total, the Imagination Library has gifted more than 229 million books as of January 2024. 

For more information on the Imagination Library and to see if it’s currently offered in your area, visit