In 2016, the D.C. Public Library created the Books from Birth program, which mails children up to five free books directly to their homes each month.
Books from Birth is open to all children under the age of five who live in Washington, D.C. Today, more than 27,000 Washington families are registered with the D.C. Public Library, which has sent out 431,060 books since the program’s inception. Another 5,605 children “graduated” from the program after turning six.
The D.C. library system purchases the books it sends to families from Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Foundation for $2.10 per book.
In February, Parton was honored by the Library of Congress in Washington after her organization donated its 100 millionth book.
The Books from Birth program is part of a larger effort to close the literacy gap in Washington D.C. wards 1,5,7 and 8. Approximately 80 percent of the families in those areas are currently enrolled in the program.