(Shreveport, LA) – United Way of Northwest Louisiana (UWNWLA) needs the community’s support this Giving Tuesday to help children reach a brighter future through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Supporters of the Imagination Library can join the United Way Book Club by donating, enabling UWNWLA to enroll more children in the program and support underserved Pre-K classrooms in our region.

Studies show that 27% of Louisiana adults are illiterate, which is 959,109 individuals out of Louisiana’s population. Moreover, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy reports that two-thirds of children beginning the fifth grade who cannot already read proficiently will be dependent upon government assistance or wind up in prison when they become adults.

With the support of patrons, UWNWLA mails a free, age-appropriate book each month to children from birth to age five through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, giving children the social and developmental tools needed to be successful in school and later in life. However, in an effort to make a long-term and economic impact for Northwest Louisiana, UWNWLA is no longer only targeting children’s homes through the Imagination Library.

This year, when donors give to join the United Way Book Club, it will allow the organization to provide a set of Imagination Library books to underserved Pre-K classrooms, ensuring literacy and language development is occurring in and out of school. In addition, UWNWLA is hosting parent workshops, where the organization will teach parents the proper techniques on how to read with their child and provide them with helpful resource materials. Lastly, donations will allow the organization to stay connected with parents of children enrolled in the program until they reach kindergarten by providing monthly activities that correspond with the book they will receive that month and community resources.

“The Imagination Library has made a tremendously positive impact on the students at J.S. Clark,” said Dr. Kenya Roberts, J.S. Clark Principal. “Because our students receive books monthly and are consistently reading at home and school, they have increased their reading comprehension achievement by 15%. This program is one of the best programs to assist our students with being successful in reading.”

Thanks to a partnership with the Office of the Governor, the state has agreed to cover half the book cost for the Imagination Library and open enrollment state-wide, allowing donors’ impact to stretch further by reducing the sponsorship cost to only $35 per child for one year. However, UWNWLA will need to raise nearly $600,000 to enroll all children in the organization’s ten-parish region.

“Opening enrollment for the Imagination Library program is a pivotal step towards nurturing the love for reading in our children, but it also underscores the urgency of our fundraising efforts,” said LaToria W. Thomas, UWNWLA President & CEO. “At current funding levels, United Way is still unable to support the nearly 33,000 children who could benefit from this incredible program. Through the Book Club initiative, we hope to ensure that no child misses the opportunity to explore the world through books.”

To put more books in the hands of children in Northwest Louisiana, UWNWLA is asking our community to join the United Way Book Club by giving at one of the levels listed below before December 31. Book Club members will receive a limited-edition bookmark as a token of appreciation, and those who give before November 30 will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win an autographed copy of Dolly Parton’s book, Coat of Many Colors. UWNWLA will draw for the winning name on Friday, December 1, 2023.


Book Worms ($350 or less) Sponsors up to 10 children in the program for 12 months
Page Turners ($351-$699) Sponsors 10-20 children in the program for 12 months
Storytellers ($700-$1,399) Sponsors 20-40 children in the program for 12 months
Novelists ($1,400) Sponsors one Pre-K3 or Pre-K4 classroom of donor’s choice


Patrons ($4,000) Sponsors 100 children in the program for 12 months with additional benefits
Scholars ($8,000) Sponsors 200 children in the program for 12 months with additional benefits
Curators ($18,000) Sponsors 500 children in the program for 12 months with additional benefits
The Librarian ($35,000) Program title sponsor for 12 months with additional benefits (only one available)

To view the full list of sponsorship benefits, please visit https://unitedwaynwla.org/united-way-book-club/. Please contact Raavin Evans at raavin@unitedwaynwla.org with questions.

To give today, please visit https://unitedwaynwla.org/united-way-book-club/.