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Program backed by Dolly Parton will send free books to Maine kids

Dolly Parton
Robert F. Bukaty
Singer Dolly Parton attends a panel discussion on literacy via livestream at the National Governors Association summer meeting, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Portland, Maine.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is coming to Maine. Gov. Janet Mills made the announcement Friday at the National Governors Association meeting in Portland during a virtual chat with the famed singer-songwriter.

The Imagination Library sends two books every month to children enrolled in the program from birth through age 5. The program will be administered by the Maine State Library, where Jamie Ritter is the head librarian.

"The earlier we can teach children how to read and love reading, we create lifelong learners," Ritter says.

Ritter says the program costs $2 a month for each child enrolled. The state of Maine will contribute half the funding and the Maine State Library will work with local partners to cover the rest. The goal is to send books to more than 14,000 children by the end of next year.