Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

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Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
Children sitting on the floor
Children sitting on the floor
Children sitting on the floor, raising their hands
Children sitting on the floor, raising their hands

We all know the importance of early childhood development, but not all families have access to the tools or resources they need for their children to have a successful start. For example, 88% of children who are not reading by kindergarten still struggle with language skills in grade 3.

What is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library?

Dolly Parton’s dream was to foster a love of reading among preschoolers and their families. She wanted to ensure that every child would have access to quality books, regardless of their family’s income. This initiative which launched in 1996 is now a national and global program managed by the Dollywood Foundation and brought to you by United Way Blackhawk Region.

United Way Blackhawk Region is committed to childhood development and has made Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library available to families in Beloit, Edgerton and Janesville – for FREE.

How does it work?

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails each enrolled child one high quality, age-appropriate book every month from birth until their 5th birthday. Many of the families enrolled might not be able to afford such a luxury. To reach as many of these children as possible, you can sponsor a child for $30 a year.

Who chooses the books?

Each year, the esteemed Blue Ribbon Book Selection Committee, a specially selected panel of early childhood literacy experts, is responsible for reviewing hundreds of potential titles for inclusion in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Who can receive books?

Any child, birth to age 5 who lives in Beloit, Edgerton or Janesville is eligible to receive books. However, funding is limited. A waiting list will be instituted when enrollment reaches capacity.

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 the Dolly Parton Foundation and as the proud local sponsor, United Way Blackhawk Region pays for postage and handling to mail books to children’s homes. Funds are donated by our generous community, through businesses and individual donations.

I’d like to register my child for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library!

I’d like to give the gift of reading by donating to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library!

Did you know that it only costs $30 to support a child’s participation in the program for a year or $150 to support a child from birth to age 5?

Donations can be made payable to United Way Blackhawk Region’s Imagination Library by check or you may donate online via PayPal. (You’ll be redirected to the Imagination Library website; once there, click PayPal button.)

Donations will be directed first to children who live in the same community as the donor. Should the donor reside outside of Beloit, Edgerton or Janesville, the donation will be directed to the community with the greatest need/waiting list.

I have more questions …

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (PDF). If you have additional questions, please contact Laura Nilson at 608.314.8420 or email

Special Thanks

To the Dolly Parton Foundation, our generous sponsors, community partners, and all early-literacy advocates.

Imagination Library logo
School District of Janesville logo


  • Alliant Energy
  • Community Action Child Care Center
  • Faith’s Little Friends
  • Janesville Generations Fund, a component of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin
  • Janesville Noon Kiwanis Club
  • Janesville Noon Rotary
  • Janesville Thursday Noon Optimist Club
  • Kiwanis Blackhawk Golden K of Janesville
  • Wednesday Morning Optimists Janesville
  • School District of Janesville


  • Greg & Sandra Ardrey
  • Liza Armstrong Witt
  • Dave and Milly Babcock
  • Pam Bitter
  • Barb Bortner & Jerry Blomgren
  • Jacques & June Boudreau
  • Gabrael Burke
  • Jesse & Sandy Calkins
  • Jeanne Carfora
  • Jan & Bob Compton
  • Mary DeKeyser
  • Dr. Gregg and Helen Dickinson
  • Christy Edens
  • Bill Mears and Gina Erickson
  • Kelly Fanning
  • Mary Fanning-Penny & Jake Penny
  • Sheila Flood
  • Christine & Kurt Geissler
  • Scott Hagedorn
  • Andrea Heckner
  • Patricia Henry
  • Al & Leslie Hulick
  • Deborah Jahnke
  • Janette Klaehn
  • Kelly Klingensmith
  • Karen & Rob Lisser
  • Amy Lokrantz
  • Julie Michaelson
  • James Millard
  • Ashley Nelson
  • Judy Norlin
  • Steve & Judy Pophal
  • Christopher Ramos
  • Doug & Christine Rebout
  • Jayne Schauer
  • Jim & Michelle Shannon
  • Shana Sullivan
  • Beth Tallon
  • Gail Terrell
  • Ellen Wiegand
  • Tom & Gail Wolfe
  • Lynn Wood
  • Cindy Wright