The San Diego Council on Literacy Partners with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library


In San Diego County, 24,000 children under the age of five will grow up in a home with no books. In response to this reality, the San Diego Council on Literacy is now partnering with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to provide books to children in our region.

Almost a quarter of the entire population in San Diego struggles with literacy skills. The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) reports that 23% of San Diego County adult residents, ages 16-74, read below a basic level. People reading at “Level 1” have the equivalent literacy levels of a reader age 5-7. Adults reading below Level 1 may not be able to write short messages to family or read a road sign.  Those with poor literacy skills are more than twice as likely to be unemployed, tend to report poorer health, and have lower civic engagement (voting, accessing and understanding technical documents). Many adults reading at Level 1…are parents. Getting books into the home for children at an early age is one way to boost literacy skills for this at-risk population. 

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book-gifting program that mails free books, monthly, to children, ages 0-5, in participating communities within the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Republic of Ireland.  Dolly Parton says that, “When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer.  The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”  Dolly Parton launched this program in 1995, and in 2003 Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library had mailed one million books to children who most need them.

The San Diego Council on Literacy’s vision is ‘Literacy for All’ with the mission of uniting the community to support literacy.  Partnering with Dolly Parton’s Imagination library is a great way to support this vision for San Diego.  This effort helps to increase the impact of services through coordinated community-scaled efforts and works to instill the importance of literacy in the region. 

If you would like to contribute to greater literacy in our region, visit the San Diego Council on Literacy’s website at If you would like to make a donation to support the work of the San Diego Council on Literacy, go to If you want to learn more about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, visit

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