Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a 60 volume set of books beginning with the children’s classic "The Little Engine That Could." Each month a new carefully selected book will be mailed in your child’s name directly to your home. Best of all it is a free gift! There is no cost or obligation to your family.
Who is Eligible?
Children under age five who are residents of Cedar Rapids.
When Will I Receive Books?
Eight to ten weeks after your registration form has been received, books will begin arriving at your home and will continue until your child turns five or you move out of Cedar Rapids.
What Are My Responsibilities?
- Be a legal resident of Cedar Rapids.
- Submit the online registration form below, completely filled out by a parent or guardian, or pick up a paper registration form at any Cedar Rapids Public Library location.
- Notify the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation any time your address changes. Books are mailed to the address listed on the official registration form. If the child’s address changes, you must contact the Cedar Rapids Public Library in order to continue receiving books.
- Read with your child.
Cedar Rapids' Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is funded by the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation through the generous support of our community.
To help provide free books to Cedar Rapids children, click the button below.
Imagination Library FAQ
Both experts and community partners have emphasized early-literacy and grade-level reading in recent years due to data showing low school readiness scores for children entering kindergarten and substandard reading scores for third graders. Ninety-percent of eventual adult brain growth is achieved in the first three years of life. Imagination Library fills a known gap in childhood literacy by addressing the pre-literacy stage, beginning with board books for infants and toddlers and moving toward stories and narratives for pre-kindergarten children.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails more than 2 million books per month to children around the world. Visit their website to learn more about The Dollywood Foundation and this program.
The Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation became an Imagination Library Affiliate in 2018. This means Cedar Rapids children can build their own, personalized library (for free) before entering kindergarten. The first book received is "The Little Engine That Could"; the last is a special ‘graduation’ book, "Look Out, Kindergarten, Here I Come!"
The Dollywood Foundation covers program overhead by providing the enrollment database and coordinating the book selection, procurement, and fulfillment processes. The Dollywood Foundation also purchases the high-quality customized books at scale, significantly reducing costs covered by the Library Foundation.
The average retail cost of an Imagination Library book is $13. However, the Library Foundation’s cost is approximately $2.10 per book, per month ($25 per child, per year). This includes the book and postage.
To support our Library Foundation’s Imagination Library with a gift, please click here.
Each year, the official 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.
Recent studies suggest participation in the Imagination Library is positively and significantly associated with higher measures of early language and math development. The Blue Ribbon Book Selection Committee takes great care in choosing books that meet the different needs of children as they progress from birth to age five.
Imagination Library books are specially selected age-appropriate, high-quality titles. Each one is personalized with the child’s name and mailed directly to the child’s home. This effort creates a gifting experience making books exciting and shows the child someone is thinking of them.
- Catherine McAuley Center
- Cedar Rapids Community School District
- Cedar Valley Montessori
- City of Cedar Rapids Building Services
- Eastern Iowa Health Center
- Four Oaks
- HACAP Head Start
- HACAP Paces for Quality
- HACAP WIC Clinics
- Mercy Medical Center
- Mercy Pediatric Clinic
- St. Paul's Early Childhood Center
- UnityPoint-St. Luke’s Hospital