Rep. Abbarno: Bipartisan Imagination Library early reading bill sent to the governor

A bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Rep. Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, and Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, that recognizes the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library as a statewide Washington program is on its way to the governor after passing the Senate on Tuesday, March 1.

The program, named after country singer Dolly Parton, began in 1995 to inspire a love of reading and provide free books to children ages birth to five-years old. The gifting program mails quality, age-appropriate books to children's homes at no cost to families. House Bill 2068 would expand the early reading program throughout Washington state. The measure would require the state to select a qualified nonprofit organization to operate the program.

“This is a really great program to encourage children to read and learn more about the world around them. I have been reading to my children since they were very young. It's a wonderful experience for a parent to have with their children. This program opens an entire new resource of books to these families so they can create closer bonds through reading,” said Abbarno.

Abbarno, who has two elementary school-aged children participated in the Imagination Library with his children and supported local Rotary clubs and the United Way of Lewis County when the program was officially brought to Lewis County.

“I got involved supporting, promoting, and helping the Imagination Library get off the ground in my community. For a nominal donation, you can put age-appropriate books in the hands of children from the age of zero to five,” noted Abbarno. “Reading is good for kindergarten readiness and increases cognitive, learning and language skills. The Imagination Library books contain lots of varied age-appropriate subject matter, which helps to prepare children for school. It's been a phenomenal success in Lewis County, and I'm excited that this legislation will soon expand the program so we can share it with children across the state.”

Under the bill, the nonprofit organization selected to operate the program would contract with a national nonprofit foundation, most likely the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, to identify eligible children and mail age-appropriate, high-quality books each month to those children at no cost to families.

“I wish to thank both Representative Monica Stonier and the United Ways of the Pacific Northwest for bringing this legislation to me for co-sponsorship,” added Abbarno. “This is a fantastic gift to prepare our children for the future.” 

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov