April 16, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia’s Imagination Library program successfully transitioned to the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) this week, making it the first of several programs to shift as a result of HB 4006, which dissolved the Department of Education and the Arts.

“I am happy to report the transition took place seamlessly and the program will continue without disruption,” said Acting Secretary of Education and the Arts, Clayton Burch. “Additionally, no funding tied to Imagination Library will be jeopardized.”

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a non-profit organization that provides thousands of books each month to registered children in participating communities throughout West Virginia. As a cornerstone of the WV Leaders of Literacy: Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the program promotes the early love of reading and learning as the building block for a strong foundation in education. Currently, 41 counties use Imagination Library to ensure children ages birth through five receive a new children’s book monthly. More than 26,000 children have early access to books because of Imagination Library and more than 1.9 million books have been distributed since the program began in West Virginia in 2007.

“Research confirms that the only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading performance is the number of books a child has access to in the home,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “The West Virginia Department of Education is committed to not only supporting, but expanding Imagination Library which is intrinsic to the vision for closing the third-grade reading gap.”

As part of the transition, the WVDE plans to expand the program to all 55 counties in West Virginia. To help reach that goal, the WVDE has partnered with the June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development, a non-profit organization that works to provide leadership in education initiatives for West Virginia educators and students. The June Harless Center will act as a fundraising arm for the Imagination Library program to help it grow.

Those interested in bringing Imagination Library to families or those who have questions may contact Charlotte Webb, Coordinator of Elementary Education at the WVDE at 304-558-9994 or ctwebb@k12.wv.us.