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 Councilman Charles Allen, 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 a video released by the D.C. Library, Parton thanked Allen specifically for proposing the program.

“It is an honor for us to join hands with the D.C. Public Library,” Parton said in the video. “Together we inspire all of our children to read more, learn more, care more and be more.”

Parents can sign their children up for the program online.


Free Books (Photo via D.C. Public Library)The D.C. Public library has opened registration for the Books From Birth program, which is set to deliver a free book every month to children under the age of 5 in the District.

Parents or guardians can sign up online to receive a free book for their toddler in their mailbox every month. Parents must register separately for each child under age 5 to receive books.

The Books From Birth program was proposed by Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen last year as a way to increase early childhood literacy.

“I firmly believe we can tackle the achievement gap in education by attacking the word and literacy gap in early childhood,” Allen said in a community newsletter.

Photo via D.C. Public Library


Keys Leads Hill Center Jazz Ensemble (via Facebook:Hill Center)

Capitol Hill Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in the Capitol Hill area. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out our event submission form.

For more events, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Tuesday – Sunday

Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End

Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle, The Mead Center for American Theater (1101 Sixth St. SW)

Time: 12 p.m. Wednesday; 2 p.m. Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Sunday; 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday

This one-woman show is part of this fall’s Women’s Voices Theater Festival and tells the story of a female newspaper columnist who wrote about suburban home life from the mid-1960s to the late 1990s. The show was written by twin sisters and is in its last week of production on the Southwest Waterfront. Full-price tickets cost $55 to $90, depending on the show date and time. They are available for purchase online.


Celebrate National Novel Writing Month: Get Unblocked!

Northeast Library (330 7th St. NE)

Time: 6:30 – 8 p.m.

The DC Public Library has teamed up with author Hannah Sternberg and Capitol Hill Arts Workshop for a series of free workshops to help locals finish their still-in-progress novels. The Northeast branch will host four workshops every Tuesday in November. Each has a different theme, starting with character development. Interested writers should register online.


Celebrate National Novel Writing Month: Finish Your Novel Already!

Southeast Library in Eastern Market (403 7th St. SE)

Time: 6:30 – 8 p.m.

The Southeast branch is also contributing to the community celebration, holding two workshops on novel writing that start this week. The free workshops–both held on Wednesday evenings this month–are meant to help aspiring authors tackle the “very specific set of challenges and disciplines” that come with writing a novel while keeping up with daily obligations and busy schedules. Interested writers should register online.


Hill Center Jazz Ensemble, led by Marshall Keys

Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE)

Time: 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Saxophonist Marshall Keys will take the lead in this installment of the Hill Center Concert Series. Song selections are original works from jazz ensemble members and are written to show the current state of jazz in the District. General admission tickets can be purchased online in advance for $15 or at the door for $20.


DC Beer Festival

Nationals Park (1500 S Capitol St. SE)

Time: 12 – 3 p.m. or 5 – 8 p.m.

Craft breweries, DJs, food trucks and lawn games will come together at Nationals Park this weekend for the DC Beer Festival. Guests can choose to attend one of two sessions. Tickets include unlimited beer tasting and access to other event activities which will set up shop throughout the ballpark. Admission is $40 per person and available online.

2015 Hilly Awards

St. Marks Episcopal Church (301 A St. SE)

Time: 6 – 10 p.m.

The tradition of honoring Capitol Hill area business returns this weekend. The formal event will have food and live music to bring together local businesses and their loyal customers. Gala tickets for the general public are $75, but prices vary for Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce members. They can be purchased online.


Our Walls Bear Witness: Iraq

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW)

Time: 6:30 – 10 p.m.

The museum will open a nighttime display featuring images of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq projected onto the building’s exterior. The series will begin Monday evening with a discussion about the background of the people in the images and to provide context. Admission is free, and the display will run through Nov. 12.

Photo via Facebook/Hill Center


Northeast Neighborhodd Library (Photo via Facebook/ Friends of the Northeast Library)Locals on Capitol Hill and in other parts of the District can give their opinions on D.C. libraries in a new survey from the city’s library system.

The D.C. Public Library system is urging residents to complete a survey intended to help it plan for the future.

The questionnaire asks respondents to say what they “wish the library offered more of” and how they use the library, among other queries.

“Input from all D.C. residents, students, employers and employees is needed to map out the vision for the library in the next five years and help us move from good to great,” the survey says. “By taking our 5-minute survey, you’re helping us define our future.”

Photo via Facebook/Friends of the Northeast Library


D.C. Public Library will host the son of a famed presidential butler tonight as part of its summer reading program at its Southwest location on 900 Wesley Place near the Waterfront Metro.

The speaker, Charles Allen, is the son of Eugene Allen, for which Wil Haygood’s book, The Butler: A Witness to History, portrays. The novel also inspired a film version.

His presentation, which includes first-hand witness to his father’s life and Q&A session, begins at 7 p.m.

Allen’s father, portrayed in the film by actor Forest Whitaker as the character Cecil Gaines, began serving presidents at the White House in the ’50s and continued through the ’80s.

Charles Allen will also speak at West End and Northwest Neighborhood Libraries later this month.


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