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United Way of Missoula County

Imagination Library Background 
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was created in 1996 by the Dollywood Foundation in Sevier County, Tennessee, mailing one FREE, age appropriate, professionally-selected book each month from birth to age 5 to any child in the county, giving the child the potential to obtain a 60-book library by the time they enter kindergarten. The goal was to improve early childhood literacy and, consequently, future school performance by instilling an early love of reading. The success of the program attracted attention from other communities, prompting the Foundation in 1999 to permit others to replicate in the program with local support. 

Imagination Library in Missoula 
Since the program’s launch in January, 2015, enrollment has seen a rapid growth that has far-exceeded United Way of Missoula County’s expectations, boasting a monthly membership enrollment greater than 3,000 children, approximately 50% of all children in that age range within our affiliate area. The program represents more than 1,050 child graduates prepared for kindergarten and being a step-ahead of the scholastic curve. To date, our organization has delivered 67,201 books to children located in Missoula and Mineral counties. Additionally, enrollment continues to grow in rural areas of Missoula and Mineral counties, particularly Seeley Lake, Clinton, Turah, Alberton, Superior, and St. Regis. This is a wonderful opportunity for children and families who may not have the same access to early childhood educational resources available in Missoula City.