Dolly Parton’s fantasy library mails free books at SMSD


Dolly Parton's Library of Imagination Shawnee Mission

The Shawnee Mission Education Foundation is partnering with the Dolly Parton fiction library to send a free book each month to participating families in the Shawnee Mission School District. Photo courtesy of Shawnee Mission Education Foundation

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library You will soon begin mailing books to the homes of younger readers in the Shawnee Mission area.

News leadership: The Shawnee Mission Education Foundation Advertise in Annual breakfast On Thursday morning, it became the first affiliate of the Johnson County Country Music Legend Writers Organization.

  • There are currently 1,500 people living in the area who have registered to be notified when the Dolly Parton fantasy library becomes available to them, said Rachel Schock, SMEF’s director of development.
  • Kimberly Henkel, executive director of SMEF, said in a press release that the fiction library “has been shown to improve children’s language and literacy skills, enhance home literacy environments and increase the frequency of parents reading to children.”

Key quote: “By acting as a subsidiary of The Imagination Library, Shawnee Mission Education is committed to helping foster a love of reading in children before they become students at Shawnee Mission School District,” Henkel said in the statement.

How it works: By filling out an enrollment form, families who live within the confines of the Shawnee Mission School District can become eligible to receive a book each month by mail from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

  • After confirming that they live within the area, the books will begin to be sent to the family home after eight to 10 weeks, according to the SMEF Handbook.
  • If a child’s address changes but they still live within the area, families can notify SMEF and books can follow them to their new address.
  • If a family moves from the area to an area not covered by the fiction library, they will no longer be eligible for the program.
  • Additional information and frequently asked questions can be found online over here.
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
The books are on display Thursday morning at the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation’s annual breakfast, where it was announced that Dolly Parton’s fiction bookstore will now mail free books to participating families within district boundaries. Photo credit Juliana Garcia.

More on Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Founded in the 1990s, the Dolly Parton Library has sent millions of books across the United States to young readers over the past quarter century, according to its website.

  • The program also operates in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Ireland, according to its website.
  • The Imagination Library emails a free book to participating children each month until they reach the age of five.
  • This means that kids who stay at Shawnee Mission and whose families start ordering books when they are babies can have a library of 60 books by the time they head to kindergarten.

How to help: SMEF Partnership with Cabinet and Children’s Trust of Kansas To cover the program’s administrative costs, according to its website.

  • However, community members can donate various amounts each month to help continue the program in Shawnee’s mission.
  • A $10 monthly donation can send 10 children’s books, according to the Fiction Library.
  • $25 per month will cover the cost of sending books to 300 Shawnee Mission area children, and a $50 monthly donation will cover the cost of up to 600 children.
  • Donations can be made online over here.

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