Hanbidge works to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Pennsylvania

BLUE BELL, March 7 – State Rep. Liz Hanbidge, D-Montgomery, introduced legislation to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Pennsylvania – putting free books into the hands of hundreds of thousands of children.

The Imagination Library program mails age-appropriate books to children from birth to age 5, regardless of household income. Hanbidge’s legislation, H.B. 2025, would add Pennsylvania to the program’s worldwide roster by amending the Public School Code, establishing the Statewide Imagination Library Program and the Imagination Library of Pennsylvania Restricted Account. The cost for the program would amount to about $13 per child.

“Children participating in the Imagination Library show increased readiness for kindergarten and maintain higher reading achievement scores through ninth grade compared to their non-participating peers,” Hanbidge said. “Reading is a staple of our world, society and history. By introducing people to books at a young age, we can show them the joys and pleasure of reading instead of it being perceived as a chore. I am so proud to introduce this legislation alongside Senators Carolyn Comitta, John Kane and Maria Collett to get books into the hands of all Pennsylvania children from birth to age 5.”

House Bill 2025 currently awaits consideration in the House Education Committee. The companion bill, S.B. 1097, is circulating for additional co-sponsors.

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.

As of 2023, 20 states have enacted laws to establish statewide Imagination Library programs and, every month, over 2 million children receive a free book through these initiatives. Past studies regarding the program in other states have indicated that children receiving Imagination Library books have become more enthusiastic about reading, read more regularly with their families, and are more prepared students by the time they enroll in kindergarten.