Dolly Parton-Inspired Book Program Coming To Oklahoma

Friday, May 22nd 2020, 5:24 pm

A bill was signed into law Thursday to initiate a program that mails a book every month to every young child in Oklahoma.

The idea came to Sen. John Haste during a trip to Tennessee.

Haste was introduced to the Imagination Library, a program started by Dolly Parton.

“Seventy percent of all 0- to 5-year-olds within the state of Tennessee are receiving a book a month,” Haste said.

Haste wanted to bring the same program to Oklahoma, providing a free book every month to young children.

“There are no qualifications. So, these are not income qualifications or any other type of qualifications, because they want to make this available for all children,” Haste said.

The program is designed to get children interested in books before even beginning school.

“It’s a very good way to get parents caregivers reading to their children at first and getting the child excited about reading,” Haste said.

With the bill signed into law, laying the foundation for the program, Haste is trying to get funding going.

“Hopefully when we come back in February, we’ll be able to get some funds in that for the state,” Haste said.

The senator is also looking for Oklahoma foundations and corporations to support the program as a public private partnership.

Haste wants the program rolled out in 2021, if possible.