Yes, Imagination Library works!
Supporters of Imagination Library are often asked, “How do you know it works?” Here at Best Beginnings, we knew that getting age-appropriate, high-quality books into the hands of young children on a regular basis had to be making a difference. It’s just common sense. But still we were asked if it works.
We looked to the Dollywood Foundation and colleagues across the country. Dozens of research projects have been conducted in other states on the effectiveness of Imagination Library – all with positive results.
In 2009 and 2011 University of Alaska Anchorage researchers Hilary Seitz, Ph.D. and Robert Capuozzo, Ph.D. designed surveys to record family reading habits
before books began arriving and
after one year of receiving monthly books. They found that Alaska children enrolled in Imagination Library for at least one year are more enthusiastic about reading, are read to more often, are perceived by parents to be better prepared for kindergarten, and live in homes with more children’s books.
Still we were asked if it works.
So, in April 2017, in collaboration with the Dollywood Foundation, parents of more than 19,000 children enrolled in Imagination Library in Alaska were asked to complete a short, online survey about the effect of these books on them and their children. Some 2,530 parents responded. Not only did they answer the survey questions, they virtually all provided anecdotal statements about the value of the program.
So, does Imagination Library work?