DOLLY PARTON’S IMAGINATION LIBRARY

Imagination Library provides children with a free new book every month through their fifth birthday. Dolly Parton started Imagination Library in 1995, to fight illiteracy in her eastern Tennessee community. Research shows that disadvantaged children come to school years behind their peers in pre-reading skills, and rarely catch up, and that the children still struggling to read in 3rd grade are the ones who eventually drop out. Evaluations indicate that Imagination Library is getting kids more interested in reading and getting their parents more comfortable reading to their children. Children are mailed an age-appropriate book directly to their homes to build their own private library. 8 out of 10 middle income children in Polk County enter Kindergarten ready to read, but only 2 out of 10 low-income children are ready. For that reason, low-income sites are targeted when enrolling children. Local sponsors currently include the Friends of the Bartow Library, Bartow Rotary and Florida’s Natural Growers Foundation. Polk County areas currently in the program are Bartow, Fort Meade, Lake Wales, Winter Haven, Lakeland and all of Hardee and Highlands counties. 7,578 books were mailed to 1,211 children in fiscal year 2017/2018.

The average sponsorship cost in Polk County is $2.50 per month for one child to receive an age appropriate book mailed to their home, to build their own private library. A $3,000 sponsorship provides 100 children with one book per month for one year. Each child receives one book per month up to their fifth birthday. Children must be under the age of 5 and reside in a project zip code area, which may be selected by the donors/sponsors. Eight out of 10 middle-income children in Polk County enter Kindergarten ready to read. Only 2 out of 10 low-income children are ready. For that reason low-income sites are targeted when enrolling children. Polk County areas currently in the program are Bartow, Fort Meade, Lake Wales, Lakeland’s Crystal Lake Area (zip 33801) and Winter Haven. Donor dollars are designated to the area of their choice.

Dolly Parton Libraries are a component of “Let’s Grow. Every child. Every chance.” – a community initiative working to increase early literacy.

To learn more about the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Libraries or Let’s Grow, please email letsgrow@uwcf.org.

To register a child please complete this Registration Form .

To inquire about sponsorship opportunities, contact Amber Qureshi at 863.648.1500 ext. 228.

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For more information about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, visit the official web site

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