California State Library Expands to Provide Free Books to Children Across California

Joe Bowers, Tanu Henry, Edward Henderson and Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media 

Last week, the California State Library announced the expansion of its resources and services partnership with Imagination LibraryThis program, started by the Dolly Parton Foundation, provides free books monthly to all children in the state under the age of five. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office collaborated on this effort. To date, Imagination Library has distributed 200 million books to children in five different countries. 

      “Reading is a team sport,” said California State Librarian Greg Lucas. “The more that you engage a community and get people to understand the value of creating stronger readers, the more successful the program will be and the stronger and more resilient the community is going to be.” 

First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom attended the launch ceremony and stated that “reading to kids early and often is good for their literacy and a great way to begin to cultivate a lifelong love and appreciation for reading. 

      The program’s expansion was driven by bipartisan legislation signed last year by Gov. Newsom. The bill — authored by Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Senator Shannon Grove (R- Bakersfield) — provides a dollar-for-dollar match from the State Library to help local organizations that partner with the Imagination 

Library to sign up more children to receive books. 

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