HomeGet InvolvedWelcome to Dolly Parton’s Imagination LibraryStart an Imagination Library











Starting or supporting Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a powerful way to make lasting change in the lives of the most vulnerable children. Help to support your organisation’s existing early learning or community development work by starting an Imagination Library today!

What is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library?

It’s a community based program providing children with free home delivered books and literacy resources each month, from birth until they turn 5. Started by musician and author Dolly Parton in the USA in 1996, more than 70 million books have since been distributed, including more than 140,000 books across Australia.

The Imagination Library program helps Australian children – especially those in disadvantaged communities – to gain the skills they need to start school read to read, learn and succeed in life. It encourages reading in the home between parents, carers, grandparents, siblings and the child. Positive behaviour change has been reported since the program started in Australia, United Way operates an Imagination Library as part of our Early Childhood initiatives and we’ve observed that;

  • children are twice as likely to ask to be read to (increase from 40% to 77%),
  • children are talking about books, asking for books over toys, carrying books around and treating them with greater respect,
  • parents are twice as likely to talk about shared reading with other parents (increase from 40% to 80%) and
  • parents report a 16% increase in daily reading with children.

“My daughter can’t wait to receive her book. She loves the surprise and re-reads it constantly” Parent, NSW

Who can start an Imagination Library?

Any organisation able to sign up children to receive monthly books and raise the modest funds needed to cover these subsidised costs. To date organisations including Mission Australia, Save the Children, Rotary clubs, community centres and many others have all started Imagination Libraries to support their existing early childhood development work.

See what our partners are saying about supporting the Imagination Library!

Become a Community Partner

Girl_Park_ReadingTo start your own Imagination Library, you’ll need to become a Community Partner – a local champion that has:

  • enthusiasm for improving early literacy in your community
  • a key contact person/s to co-ordinate and register 0-5 year old children
  • plans to register more than 30 children in your first year
  • identified supportive community groups and fundraising opportunities
  • enough start up funding to support your Imagination Library

Email us to request an information pack or call head office on (02) 9321 0300.



we provide you with:

  • Low cost monthly books, selected by a panel of early learning experts (thanks to our partner Penguin Books Australia!) delivered directly to the homes of children you enrol.
  • Monthly reading support direct to parents and carers of enrolled children, including via email and SMS
  • Training and support to use the online registration system
  • Operational support including child registration forms and poster templates
  • Fundraising ideas, resources and contacts to help you sustain your Imagination Library

Registration and PROMOTIONALRS1825_DSC_8907-lpr


To get the right books to the right children, there is specific information we need collected at the point of registration. United Way provides you with a registration form that ensures the book delivery process runs smoothly.

Once you’ve registered your library, you’ll need to promote it to your community. United Way provides you with templates for posters, sponsorship letters and media releases all which can be used to increase awareness and support in your community.

DPIL Case Studies

See how Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is making a positive difference to children in Doomadgee and Noongaleek.

more questions?

Head over to our Frequently Asked Questions, call us on (02) 9321 0300 or email us read@unitedway.com.au.



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