Inspire a Love of Reading
Free Books from Dolly to your child!
by Janet Lengel, Stratford Education Foundation
Each month, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails a high quality, age appropriate book to all registered children in Stratford from birth until 5 years of age, addressed to them, at no cost to the child’s family. Countless parents have shared how excited their child is when their new book arrives each month.
Stratford is one of only 3 towns in Connecticut that is an affiliate of the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, along with New Britain and Hartford. The Stratford Education Foundation is the Local Champion for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The Foundation is responsible for registering children, promoting the program, seeking funding, and paying for the books each month. The current monthly cost is $2,486 Presently there are 1,130 Stratford children enrolled.
A Spanish version of the program, and the Spanish enrollment forms are available at all of the events that the Foundations Stratford Dolly Parton Imagination Library attend. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library website can be translated into Spanish. If parents go to https://imaginationlibrary.com they can click on Translate and choose Español.
How Do I Qualify:
- Be a resident of Stratford
- Submit an official registration form completely filled out by the parent(s)
- 8-10 weeks after your registration form has been received, books will begin arriving at your home, and will continue until your child turns five or if you move out of Stratford.
History of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
In 1995, Dolly Parton launched, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee, USA. Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families. The new program gave each child a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age appropriate books directly to their home with their names on the mailing label.
Dolly wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could ensure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.
Since its launch, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has set and surpassed many goals and milestones. National replication, which started in 2000, allowed more and more communities to adopt the program. State-wide coverage was established in Tennessee in 2004. Furthermore, international growth provided expansion in Canada (2006), United Kingdom (2007) and Australia (2014).
Stratford launched the program in August of 2019.
The first book order in 1995 totaled just over 1,700. Today, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library sends more than 2 million books per month to children around the world inspiring them to Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More.
The Imagination Library provides the infrastructure of the core program including managing the secure central database for the Book Order System and coordinating book selections and wholesale purchasing. It also incurs the cost of the program’s administrative expenses and coordinates the monthly mailings.
Many groups and individuals work hard behind the scenes to make that special moment possible for each child. Sign up today and start reading and have fun!
Pick up a registration form at the Stratford Library, Sterling House, YMCA, Stratford Recreation, or Stratford Housing Authority