Expanding Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Maine

You know, when I was growing up in Western Maine, my mother, who was an English teacher, introduced me to our local library and she encouraged me to read books of every kind. Well, at times my favorite things to read were Mad Magazine and sometimes The Weekly Reader. At other times, I read the adventures of Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys, and the Bobbsey Twins.

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills, and thank you for listening.

Like many Maine kids, I learned something about self-reliance and about problem-solving from those characters and those books. And I learned about the bravery it took to solve some of those baffling mysteries by Nancy Drew. People of all ages read to go on adventures like I did. Some people read to find acceptance and advice and information. Some read to explore different worlds and to escape their own world for a while. Some read to learn new skills or simply immerse themselves in a great story that captures their imagination.

Reading books and magazines, reading just benefits everyone, but we know it’s also especially important for our children. We know that the simple act of reading out loud to a child stimulates brain development, and it reduces stress and anxiety, it builds vocabulary, it develops the literacy skills a child needs to succeed in school and in life.

Supporting childhood literacy also has significant impacts on our economy. Look, our state needs every person to be able to contribute to society and that starts with giving them skills at an early age, being able to read and write.

My Administration has been working hard to increase early childhood literacy in this state, which is why I was proud to announce last year that we would bring the iconic singer-songwriter Dolly Parton and her Imagination Library program to Maine. The Imagination Library mails more than 2.5 million high-quality, age-appropriate books directly to children’s homes each month.

Every child enrolled in the program receives one book a month from birth to age five - at no cost to their family.

Right now, more than 4,500 children in Maine are receiving Imagination Library books from existing reading programs in their communities. Earlier this week, I was pleased to announce that we are expanding the Imagination Library in Maine, with the goal of bringing the program statewide.

The goal is to enroll sixty-five percent of all age eligible children in Maine, or about 64,000 kids, in the Imagination Library as soon as possible. To do that, we need your help. We need more businesses and school districts, small and large organizations, and individuals to become local Imagination Library affiliates. To learn more about becoming a local affiliate of the Imagination Library, please visit ImaginationLibrary.com. That’s ImaginationLibrary.com.

By becoming a local Imagination Library affiliate, you can help us ensure that every child under the age of five in Maine has access to free books every month and the foundation for a lifelong love of learning.

Maine is proud to join the family of states that participate in the Imagination Library. And on behalf of all the children of Maine, and the parents, all of whom will be served by this program, I thank Dolly Parton for her investment in our state and in our nation’s children. Whatever else may be going on in their lives, and for whatever reason they read, the Imagination Library will ensure that every child in Maine finds inspiration, education, and joy.

This is Governor Janet Mills, and thank you for listening.