Skip to main content

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library



Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library provides a free, age-appropriate book per month to children from birth until the child turns 5 years old to children living in the Joplin public school district in Missouri and those living in Crawford or Cherokee County in Kansas. The books are mailed each month directly to the child at his or her home. This means, by the time the child enters kindergarten; they will have their very own library full of amazing books to call their own.

When a child has access to books, her world becomes larger and her imagination soars. She’s better prepared for school. She’s better prepared for life. In fact, research has shown that the number of books in a child’s home is significantly linked to reading scores. The more books, the better the score. There is no income eligibility. The program is free to all children regardless of ability to pay. 

Why does reading matter?

Ninety percent of a child’s brain is developed by the age of three. Yet by age three, a child in poverty will hear 30 million fewer words than a child in a middle-income home this is referenced as a word gap. A child born to a low-income home has only a 48% chance of educational success; that success rate drops to 10% by age three if that child is not stimulated through reading and creative play.

Families who participate in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library feel more comfortable reading to their children, reading aloud and spend more time reading together. Children who are read to at least one hour a week become more interested in books and embrace a love of reading at an early age.


How do I sign up?

• Be a resident of Joplin School District in Missouri or a resident of Crawford or Cherokee County in Kansas.
• Submit an official registration form, completely filled out by parent or guardian (form must be approved and on file with United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas).
• Notify United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas any time your address changes. Books are mailed to the address listed on the official registration form.


Families can print and mail in an official registration form here:

Joplin School District

Crawford/Cherokee County 

Carl Junction

Webb City

How you can help!

Help a child create a foundation for success in school and in life! No local tax dollars are spent on purchasing or mailing these books to the young children of our community and there is no cost to the family. Imagination Library depends upon the support of generous partners like you, who understand the enormous benefit and personal satisfaction of reading.

The cost to sponsor one child is $35 per year. Donations are tax deductible.