The D.C. Library celebrated last week the delivery of the one millionth free book to a child, as part of its “Books from Birth” campaign led by country singer Dolly Parton.
Over the past four years, the project has been mailing free books to children younger than five every month.
In response to the project’s success, Parton said in a letter to the District’s officials: So…from the bottom of my heart, thank you for helping inspire children in D.C. to dream more…learn more…care more…and be more.”
“I always say that while I often get a lot of the credit, it is really our local partners, like the D.C. Public Library and the many volunteers that deserve our praise,” she added.
Rich Reyes-Gavilan, the executive director of the D.C. Library, also praised what Parton called “remarkable achievement to celebrate.”
“That we’ve been able to hit one million books probably faster than any municipality I know that has implemented a similar program means there’s a thirst for early literacy in the city,” said Reyes-Gavilan, according to DCist.
The D.C. Library’s partnership with Parton initially began to support the singer’s countrywide initiative that promotes early literacy. The singer is specifically interested in the issue due to her personal story about her father, who never was able to learn to read and write because of hard work.
She founded the Imagination Library in 1995 to promote childhood literacy in Tennesse. The program then expanded into the whole nation, also into Canada, Australia, Ireland, and the U.K.
Currently around 35,000 children in D.C. are registered to receive books via Parton’s campaign.