Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Inspiring a love of reading in the youth of Collier County

What Is It?

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is a book gifting program that sends free, high-quality, and age appropriate books by mail to children from birth until they start school at age five. Since it began, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) has provided more than 100 million books to more than one million children worldwide. The books are reviewed by a panel of childhood literacy experts before being chosen for inclusion, with several bilingual options for children who speak or read Spanish.

Who Will Be Eligible?

Eligibility to enroll in the program is extended to all children (from birth until their fifth birthday) living in the 34116 zip code.

Why the 34116 Zip Code?

The 34116 zip code, otherwise known as the Golden Gate community, has some of the lowest rates of kindergarten readiness in Collier County.

Plans to expand?

Plans are already being made to bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to the rest of Collier County, but the Golden Gate community was chosen as a launch site to make the greatest impact.

Get Registered!

Register Today

Live in the 34116 zip code and have a child younger than 5? Click the link below and enroll them in this free program today!

Register!

Join the Waitlist

Don't live in the 34116 zip code, but still interested in enrolling your child? Click the link below to join our waitlist, so when the Imagination Library expands to your area of Collier County, you'll be among the first registered!

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Sponsor a Child Today

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FAQ

Why did you choose the Imagination Library?

In 1996, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort to benefit the children of her home county in east Tennessee. Dolly wanted to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families. She wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could ensure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income. Today, the program mails over 1 million books every month, and have dramatically increased literacy rates all over the globe. Together with Grace Place for Children and Families, and Collier County Public Libraries, United Way of Collier County chose this incredible program to provide every child the opportunity to grow.

How does it work?

Children in participating communities can enroll in the program from the day they are born. Once they’re signed up, they receive a new, age-appropriate book through the mail each month until their fifth birthday. In order for a child to be eligible, his/her community must have a local sponsor committed to covering the books and mailing costs, in addition to managing and promoting the program at the local level. In our service area, only children who live in the 34116 zip code are currently eligible to register for the program.

Who can receive books?

All children from birth to 5 years of age who live in the 34116 zip code are eligible to receive books.

Why only 34116?

The United Way of Collier County has been working with a wide variety of early child education providers and was able to determine that the 34116 was a prime location for our pilot program to help improve kindergarten readiness. We are planning to expand the program after a successful launch in 34116.

How much do the books cost and who pays for the books?

There is no cost to the families who receive books. Books are paid for by donations from people in Collier County. You can make a donation online or you can honor friends or family by making a donation in their name. Click here for more information.

How much does it cost to run?

The Imagination Library costs on average $36 a year per child. In addition to the cost of books and mailing, we are also required to purchase registration brochures and cover all administrative costs, which includes database maintenance. The United Way of Collier County covers all administrative costs, which allows 100% of every donation to go directly toward the purchase and mailing of books.

Who chooses the books?

There is a national committee of individuals who meet each year to review The Imagination Library book selection. New titles are introduced each year so younger siblings will not receive the exact same books as their older siblings. In addition, as the program grows, more quality books are available for inclusion.

What research supports the values of the program?

Educators and researchers all over the world have identified that reading with your preschool children is the single most important activity to prepare a child for school.

How can I enroll my child?

If you live in the 34116 zip code, you can register online, in person or download a registration form. Complete the form and mail it to the address on the form or email it as an attachment to DPIL@uwcollier.org.

How long does it take for the books to arrive?

The first book typically arrives eight to ten weeks after a child's enrollment form has been activated. The books are ordered on the 1st of each month for delivery by the last week of the following month. For example, if your enrollment was activated before 5:00 p.m. on June 1st, you will receive your first book by the last week of July. However if your enrollment was activated after 5:00 p.m. on June 1st, you would roll over to the July 1st order for delivery of your first book by the last week of August. In other words it may take up to 10 weeks before you receive your first book. After that time, the books will arrive each month.

I am moving, will my child continue to receive book from the Imagination Library?

As long as you and your family will still reside in the 34116 zip code, your child can continue to receive books from our Imagination Library program. However, you need to change the address we have on record and also notify the United States Postal Service. If you are moving out of our service area, you may still continue to receive books if your new zip code is part of a currently operating area. When you update your address, you will automatically be transferred into the program in your new location if that area has an Imagination Library program. If you move into an area where there is not a community partner sponsoring the Imagination Library, your child will no longer receive books.