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Imagination Library FAQs

Why Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library?

Community partners (and experts at the state-level) have placed much emphasis on early-literacy and grade-level reading over the past few years due to data showing low school readiness scores for children entering kindergarten and substandard reading scores for kids in 3rd grade. 90% of eventual adult brain growth is achieved in the first 3 years of life. Imagination Library fills a known gap in childhood literacy in that it addresses the pre-literacy stage beginning with board books for infants and toddlers and moving towards stories and narratives for the preschooler or pre-kindergartner.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails more than 1 million books per month to children around the world, and in February, presented its 100 millionth book to the Library of Congress. Visit their website to learn more about The Dollywood Foundation and this program. www.imaginationlibrary.com

The Library Foundation recently became an Imagination Library Affiliate. 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 titled Look Out, Kindergarten, Here I Come!. Infant selections begin as board books. Thereafter, many selections have a fold-out tab containing questions and conversation guides for caregivers. This helps the child build vocabulary and comprehension skills.


What does it cost?

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.


Thank you to our Imagination Library donors:

Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation: Altorfer, Inc. Fund, Bloomhall Family Fund, Community Investment Fund, Diamond V Fund, McGrath Family of Dealerships, and the Program Fund
The Accel Group
Alliant Energy Foundation
Bankers Trust
Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque: Theisen’s More For Your Community Fund
The Gazette
Linn County Witwer Trust
Mercy Medical Center
Rockwell Collins
TrueNorth Companies
Van Meter
Wells Fargo

Thank you to our community enrollment partners:

Catherine McAuley Center
Eastern Iowa Health Center
Mercy Medical Center
UnityPoint-St. Luke’s Hospital