Dolly Parton Imagination Library

What is the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and who is eligible to participate?

Reading to your child is one of the MOST important things you can do to get them off to a great start in life. The Imagination Library will help you read to your child by sending books directly to your home. All children who live within the Ionia County Intermediate School District (Belding, Ionia, Lakewood, Portland, Saranac, Coon, Haynor, and North LeValley) who are between birth and five years of age, (but have not turned five years of age) are eligible to participate. This is a free literacy program for young children and it is considered a GIFT from the community back to its youngest citizens. For just $27.00 per year, a child will receive a high quality book once a month delivered right to their home for an entire year.

Use Books to Help Your Child Learn and Develop!

Developmental Activities for Kid’s Birth to Five

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a great way to support your child’s development and prepare them for a great start in life. The Play, Learn and Read at Home Activity sheets have been created by staff from Ionia ISD specifically for some titles in the library to support parents in developing their child’s overall skills from birth to 5 years of age. Click on any of the books and then get ready to PLAY!!

  • The Little Engine That Could
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • The Gingerbread Man
  • Wake up, Sleepy Bear!
  • Raindrop Plop!
  • The Snowy Day
  • Llama Llama Mad at Mama

Find Imagination Library Books & Book Activities here.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library @

Learn More About The Program

Why is it named after Dolly Parton?

The program was originally started by Dolly Parton in her home state of Tennessee. Literacy was an issue for Dolly’s family and neighbors so she created the foundation to give back to her home community. Now she is making the program available to communities all across the United States through her foundation. Ionia ISD is one of a handful of communities in the state of Michigan to offer the program. It will require the entire community’s support to make it a priority to donate to the program year after year.

What is so important about having books in the home?

According to Steven Bialostok in his book Raising Readers, the single most important factor influencing children’s literacy (speaking, reading, and writing) is the amount of time they are read to. He outlines nine stages a child goes through to become an independent reader. The first six: Learning to love books, Enjoying the meaning of books, Learning how books work, Discovering that print has meaning, Memorizing books and Rehearsing books all happen before a child goes to school assuming they have access to books in the home. Research also shows that children who are read to at young ages outperform their peers who were not read to. This effect lasts throughout their school years and into adulthood.

What is the process for enrolling my child?

Enrollment forms are located in local schools, libraries, community organizations and online by clicking the enroll now link on the DPIL page. Once the form is complete and mailed back to the Ionia ISD, the child’s information will be entered into the Dolly Parton Imagination Library database. On the 10th of every month the names are pulled by the Dolly Parton Foundation and the books are mailed from Tennessee. It takes approximately 6-8 weeks, for the first book to arrive at the child’s home!

The first book your child will receive is The Little Engine that Could. All of the books your child receives after that are based upon the year they were born. The month the child turns five, they will receive Kindergarten Here I Come which will be their last book. If a child were to participate from birth, they would have a complete home library of 60 books by the time they turned five at a very low cost of only $135.00.

Enroll Your Child

Community Sponsors