Arkansas Imagination Library

Mission

The mission of Arkansas Imagination Library (ARIL) is to promote early childhood literacy in Arkansas’ birth to age five population, by providing access to free, high-quality, age appropriate books in the home. In partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, ARIL gives all preschoolers in Arkansas the opportunity to receive books in the mail at no cost to families. Our vision is an Arkansas where all preschool children have books in their homes, develop a love of reading and learning, and begin school prepared to succeed, from kindergarten throughout their educational journeys.

Ruling year info

2018

Executive Director

Dr. Charlotte Green EdD

Main address

401 SCOTT ST Suite 3

LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201 USA

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EIN

82-1620909

NTEE code info

Unknown (Z99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

According to the Arkansas Community Foundation's Aspire Report (2019), only 38% of Arkansas third graders are proficient in reading. Third grade is considered an important milestone in a student's career in terms of reading proficiency and is correlated to whether a student will graduate from high school. Research shows that 85% of a child's core brain development occurs before the age of three. This “wiring” shapes infants and toddlers’ ability to learn to read and think critically (J.S. Hutton, 2015). Additional research indicates the dramatic correlation between the number of books in the home and future academic achievement. Children growing up with a home library, even as small as 25 books, got 2.4 more years of education than children from bookless homes (Evans, M.D., 2014). With 26% of Arkansas children living below the federal poverty level, and 53% living under 200% level, Arkansas Imagination Library desires to minimize the impact poverty has on children's access to books.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

The mission of Arkansas Imagination Library (ARIL) is to promote early childhood literacy in Arkansas’ birth to age five population, by providing access to free, high-quality, age appropriate books in the home. In partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, ARIL gives all preschoolers in Arkansas the opportunity to receive books in the mail at no cost to families. Our vision is an Arkansas where all preschool children have books in their homes, develop a love of reading and learning, and begin school prepared to succeed, from kindergarten throughout their educational journeys.

In 1995, Dolly Parton launched Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee. Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. In 2002, local communities throughout Arkansas started county affiliates to deliver books in the natural state. By 2016, the local affiliates were delivering approximately 16,700 books each month to children in Arkansas. In July 2017, the Arkansas Imagination Library was created to increase literacy in Arkansas by ensuring all young children across the state may participate in the Imagination Library. Since 2017, ARIL worked with local communities and grew the program from 54 to all 75 counties; increasing the number of children receiving books from 16,700 to over 40,500, and getting quality books to children in rural communities that may not have a school or public library.

By providing books at no cost to families, the Imagination Library increases childhood literacy rates, fosters a love of books, and promotes a culture of reading among all families in Arkansas.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Families

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Arkansas Imagination Library (ARIL) has four goals to ensure an effective implementation plan for delivery:

Goal 1: Establish a program in all 75 counties.
Since the establishment of the state office in August 2017, ARIL has worked with local affiliates and communities to grow the number of counties served. Through collaboration and communication with local community organizations, ARIL has increased the number of counties with Imagination Library programs from 54 to all 75 in less than two years.

Goal 2: Deliver books each month to a minimum of 60% of Arkansas children between the ages of 0-5.
Since 2017, the number of children receiving books has more than doubled, increasing from 16,700 to over 40,000. ARIL continues to work with all Arkansas counties to grow the number of enrolled children to 118,612 - 60% of the 0 to 5 population in the state. After reaching the 60% goal, ARIL will continue to grow the number of children receiving books. ARIL desires for ALL children ages 0-5 to receive books.

Goal 3: Strengthen local affiliates by providing capacity-building support through matching dollar programs, local leadership capacity building, and community engagement.
ARIL continues to work with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) and local affiliates to ensure delivery of books to Arkansas children. Since 2017, ARIL has developed a granting program where local affiliates could apply for funds to support the delivery of books in their community. The state office continues to seek various grants to provide funds for Arkansas affiliates, in addition to raising funds to grow the ARIL endowment. ARIL has recently secured funding through a grant with Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), covering 50% of the cost of books for every affiliate. The funds will ensure ARIL can continue the intentional growth needed to establish programs that will assist ARIL in providing funds to local affiliates to reduce the cost of program implementation at the local level.

Goal 4: Provide research to show the impact on the culture of reading and grade-level reading.
ARIL has access to national research from DPIL and partners with ADE and UCA to analyze enrollee data on an ongoing basis. The university collaborations allow ARIL to conduct research on the program’s impact to guide literacy decisions in Arkansas.

ARIL is currently conducting research in partnership with DPIL, ADE, and the University of Central Arkansas to produce a comparative analysis of children that have gone through the Imagination Library program (as far back as 2010) and determine benefits received by these children from being in the program, based on performance and testing scores throughout elementary school. By December 2020, ARIL expects our comparative research and data analysis will demonstrate that enrollment in the Imagination Library increases kindergarten readiness and literacy test scores.

In 1995, Dolly Parton launched her Imagination Library to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee. Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. To date, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) mails free, age-appropriate books to over 1.5 million children each month directly to their home from birth to age five in participating communities. Dolly’s homegrown effort is now a part of thousands of communities’ early childhood strategies and is increasingly a vital part of educational policy for states, provinces, and territories.

In 2002, local communities throughout Arkansas started county affiliates. By 2016, local affiliates were delivering approximately 16,700 books each month to children in Arkansas. In 2017, Governor Asa Hutchinson provided a one-time gift to create the Arkansas Imagination Library (ARIL), a statewide 501c3 nonprofit organization that works with local affiliates to expand the program. As a licensed partner of DPIL, ARIL strives to increase literacy in Arkansas by ensuring all young children across the state may participate in the Imagination Library. Since 2017, ARIL worked with local communities and grew the program from 54 to all 75 counties; increasing the number of children receiving books from 16,700 to over 40,000.

In the United States, DPIL has grown to reach children in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The program is available in communities where a local partner has teamed up with the Imagination Library. Affiliates are responsible for promoting their program, enrolling children aged 0 to 5 who live in their geographical area, and securing funds to cover the cost of the books and shipping ($25.20 per child per year). In return, DPIL chooses, sources, and ships the books to all registered children; addressed to them, at no cost to the child’s family. A panel of early childhood literacy experts selects the age-appropriate books, which include two bilingual Spanish-English books per year. Audio and braille versions of the books are also available. The choices range from time-tested titles like The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter to contemporary classics such as Newbery Medal winner Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena.

DPIL is an evidenced-based, best practice program (Library of Congress, 2014) that helps to prepare children for kindergarten and later academic success. Impressive program results report that children enrolled in the program score significantly higher in reading comprehension and vocabulary measures than their peers - not only in kindergarten, but also in second and third grades (Samiei, S., 2015).

Having books in the home prepares infants and toddlers to become lifelong readers. Exposure to books at an early age leads to improved literacy throughout life. By providing books at no cost to families, the Imagination Library increases childhood

All 75 counties
50% Match Book Cost-Sharing Grant for all affiliates
serving over 40,000 children age 0 to 5
starting research for longitudinal study over 10 years.

Financials

Arkansas Imagination Library
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Arkansas Imagination Library

Board of directors
as of 3/2/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Jerry Adams

Arkansas Research Alliance

Term: 2018 - 2021


Board co-chair

Mr Eddie Herndon

United Way of Fort Smith

Term: 2018 - 2021

Houston Davis

University of Central Arkansas

Linda Eilers

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

Jackie Govan

Arkansas Head Start

Kenneth James

Newport School District

Fred Leonard

State Farm

Clarke Tucker

Poynter Tucker Law Firm

Richard Valentine

Valentine Consulting