Dolly Parton's Imagination Library coming to California in 2023

Millions of California children will soon be eligible to get a free book in the mail every month as Dolly Parton plans to expand her Imagination Library program to the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom's office announced Wednesday.

In a tweet Wednesday, the Governor's office announced that the literacy program would be coming to the state in June 2023. Parton, the country rock star founded the Imagination Library nearly 30 years ago, in her home county of Sevier County, Tennessee. She was inspired to start the program by her father who could neither read nor write. 

In the last three decades, the program has expanded to four other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Ireland, and as of 2022, distributes more than 2 million books to children across the world every month. 

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Under the program, children five years old and under are mailed books every month, completely free. The Imagination Library's website says its goal is to distribute books to families regardless of their income.

According to the Governor's office, the program's expansion throughout California would make 2.4 million California children eligible to receive a monthly book.

"Before he passed away, my Daddy told me the Imagination Library was probably the most important thing I had ever done," Parton wrote on the Imagination Library website. "I can’t tell you how much that meant to me because I created the Imagination Library as a tribute to my Daddy. He was the smartest man I have ever known, but I know in my heart his inability to read probably kept him from fulfilling all of his dreams."