Country music legend Dolly Parton recorded a video today to lend support to the D.C. Public Library’s Books From Birth program, which officially launched today.
The program, proposed last year by Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, who represents Shaw, provides a free book every month to enrolled kids from birth until age five. To provide the books, the D.C. Public Library is partnering with Parton’s Imagination Library, an organization the singer started in 1995 in Tennessee.
The District’s Books From Birth program was inspired by Imagination Library, which provides free books to over 900,000 children from birth to age five in the U.S. and Canada.
In 2004, DC closed the the Watha T. Daniel library in Shaw and several other libraries, to replace the aging buildings with new, modern facilities. Though the interior drew some criticism, neighbors widely praised the open, airy glass design as a huge improvement over the prison-like, concrete, Brutalist original library.
Then, neighbors found out that the cost of the glass forced the library to cut back, replacing the glass facade with a concrete one that even replicated the vertical slit architecture of the original: