Every month, more than 16,000 children in Arkansas receive a free book in the mail from one of 47 community affiliates of Dolly Partonﾒs Imagination Library. The organization has the goal of building home libraries for all children from birth to age five. The program is paid for by community donations so there is no charge to families for the books.
Des Arc School District became an Imagination Library affiliate in 2005. During the first year of the program, 20 percent or more of entering kindergartners were considered not developed in written language, math concepts, attentive behavior or general knowledge. Ten years later, virtually all kindergartners were considered developed in all categories. Between 2014 and 2016, the number of children in Arkansas receiving books from Dolly Partonﾒs Imagination Library has increased by 6,000. Currently 56 of the 75 counties in Arkansas are participating or in the planning stages. With new affiliates beginning this year, it is estimated 20,000 children will be receiving books by the end of 2017.