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Dolly parton's imagination library

Imagination Library, founded by Dolly Parton, and funded by United Way of Central Minnesota, is aimed at fostering a love for reading among children from birth to age five. Through this program, enrolled children receive a new, age-appropriate book each month delivered directly to their homes, completely free of charge.

The books selected for distribution are carefully curated to engage young minds and encourage literacy development. Imagination Library operates on the belief that early exposure to books and stories can significantly impact a child's cognitive and language skills, setting them up for success in school and beyond.

Since its inception, Imagination Library has expanded globally, reaching millions of children worldwide and making a tangible difference in promoting literacy and a lifelong passion for learning.

Dad & daughter with book

Sign up for
Imagination Library Books

Learn more about how you can register a child to receive free Imagination Library books. 
mom and child reading

Give the gift of reading

Local enrollments depend on local donations.  Help build Central Minnesota's library with a gift today. 


imagination library SPONSORS


Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to start receiving books?

Imagination Library mails out books to almost 2 million children a month. They must place our book orders a month in advance to do this. Depending on when you register a child, it may take up to eight to twelve weeks for the first book to arrive. After that, the books will come every month. 

For example, if you registered a child on January 6th and were approved by United Way of Central Minnesota in January, you would receive your first book in March. 

I’m moving, what do I need to do? 

When planning a move, please contact your United Way of Central Minnesota and provide them with your new address. To find your new local affiliate, visit the website below. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that the program will be available in your new neighborhood. 


How do I know if my child was accepted into the program?

If you provide an email address with your registration, you will be notified via email when the registration is approved or entered into our system.  If you do not have an email address, you will need to contact United Way of Central Minnesota at 320-229-3511 to find out more information, but it does take 8-12 weeks for books to start arriving after approval.  Why is this not available in my area?

Thank you for reaching out and for your support of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For a program to be available in a community, there must be a local partner to cover the book and mailing costs for a specific geographic area. United Way of Central Minnesota only distributes books to children who live within our service area. 

 I have twins, will they always receive the same books each month?

Imagination Library books are mailed out by age group. Every child born in the same year receives the same books, appropriate for their age. Twins will receive the exact book each month. However, because the books are addressed to each child, they will both have built their own library of quality books when they graduate from the programs.

Do all children receive the same books?

Each child within an age group receives the same monthly book.

We make sure children receive an appropriate book by allocating them to an age group based on their year of birth. For example, children born in 2023 will receive board books with minimal text focusing on nurture and attachment, whereas a child born in 2018 will receive a softcover picture book, covering more complex concepts.  A child enrolled from birth to their fifth birthday will build their own home library of up to 60 books. Learn more here:

I’m expecting our baby in 6 months, when can I sign them up?

Congratulations! Provided you live in United Way of Central Minnesota's service area, you can sign your baby up as soon as they are born.  

Are the books age-appropriate?

Yes, all books within the program are age-appropriate and are selected by early childhood experts. More information about the Book Committee can be found here.

Every child receives the same welcome book, regardless of age, and the following month the age-appropriate titles will start to arrive. 

How do I get my login information?

If you registered a child online or an email address was added to your child's record upon registration, this will serve as your username.  If you do not know the password, please request a new password using the New Password/Forgot Password link on the login page. If your link has expired or is invalid, you can request a new link at any time here.

How can I donate to this program?

You can visit our website to make a donation. We thank you in advance for your support!