Imagination Library

What is Imagination Library?

Imagination Library is an early childhood education initiative which provides FREE books to children, from birth to age five.  Once enrolled the child will receive a new, age appropriate book delivered in their name to their home once monthly until their fifth birthday as long as they are a resident of the UWNEMN service area (Iron Range and Koochiching County).  Originally started by Dolly Parton, the program's vision is to get children excited about books and reading and to ensure that every child has books in their home, regardless of family income. UWNEMN initiated the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program in 2008.  More than 6,500 children have now been enrolled in our service territory.

Is it effective?

Countless studies document the relationship between early literacy and school performance.  By providing the children of our community with quality, age-appropriate books, we seek to:

  • increase children's access to books,
  • encourage parents to read more often to their children,
  • support children in the development of a love for reading, and
  • better prepare children to begin school.

Imagination Library Really Works!

A recent study of Imagination Library families in UWNEMN’s service territory revealed that 96.4% of parents/guardians say receiving the books has reminded them how important reading is to their child's development, 82.3% of parents/guardians spend more time reading to their children because of the Imagination Library program, and 97.9% of parents/guardians report that Imagination Library has made a positive impact on their family.

Getting Started!

United Way of Northeastern Minnesota's Imagination Library is open to all children in our service territory (Iron Range and Koochiching County) from birth to age five.


Once you register your child for the Imagination Library, whether by mail or online, it will take eight to 10 weeks for the first book to arrive; the books will then continue monthly. Each childs first book is the same, The Little Engine That Could.  The age appropriate titles are selected by a blue ribbon panel of experts and offer outstanding themes and stories for your child.  View the book themes.  If you move, your books will not automatically forward.  Please notify UWNEMN at or 218-254-3329 if your address changes.

We need your support...

Ideally, we would like to reach 100% of our children.  We cannot make significant steps toward that goal without your help!  Please help spread the word about Imagination Library!

We also need your support to fund the program.  Just $35 is needed to sponsor one child for one year. With your support, we can help every young child find the spark of their own imagination through reading books.  To make a donation, please CLICK HEREdesignate through payroll deduction at your workplace, or send donations to UWNEMN, 608 East Drive, Chisholm, MN  55719.

"Imagination Library was designed to help children dream more, learn more, care more and be more, and it is really working."- Dolly Parton  

Free Family Events!

In 2015, UWNEMN created a series of FREE Wild about Reading events to bring the Imagination Library program to life and celebrate the joy of reading among families in UWNEMN's service territory. Each event is designed to bring storybooks to life, provide literacy activites and more. Click Here to learn more!