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Imagination Library Impact Evaluation


Cover photo: Dolly Parton reads to children at The Library of Congress. Photo courtesy of Jake Tate; CPR News

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is inspiring a love of reading for children in Colorado, across the U.S. and around the globe. The nonprofit provides books at no cost to families with young children (0-5 years old) to foster a love of books and promote a culture of reading among families.

The program launched in Colorado in 2005. Today, there are 34
local affiliate programs serving 50 counties with the goal of making books available to all young children in every Colorado zip code. Community-based organizations distribute age-appropriate books each month to more than 22,750 children. Nearly 20% of the books are either fully bilingual in English and Spanish or have Spanish language content.

“One of my goals is to make Colorado the very best state for children and families, and the Imagination Library embodies our commitment to make sure that every child and family thrives. We know that the most important factor in a child’s success is an early introduction to books.”

– Governor Jared Polis

The Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab is supporting the Imagination Library of Colorado (ILCO) in assessing the impact the book program is having on kindergarten readiness scores. Because the state of Colorado does not collect student-level kindergarten-readiness data, a statewide study is not possible. Instead, the Colorado Lab is targeting a small number of school districts that have a large number of ILCO book program participants residing in their catchment areas to share data through the Linked Information Network of Colorado (LINC). The evaluation will compare ILCO program graduates to demographically similar students at the same school district who have not participated in the ILCO program.

Look for an interim impact report in 2024 and learn more by reaching out to Dr. Kristin Klopfenstein.