Start an Imagination Library
Starting an Imagination Library is a powerful way to make lasting change in the lives of vulnerable children while supporting your organisation’s existing early learning or community development initiatives.
Early Literacy Changes Lives!
Providing children aged 0-5 with new high quality books and educational resources free of charge to families each month, the Imagination Library helps build the vital early developmental skills needed to start school ready to read, learn and succeed.
Started by musician and author Dolly Parton in the USA in 1996, more than 70 million books have since been distributed, including more than 300,000 across Australia.
As as result of the program, parents and partners report the following positive impacts:
- 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%)
- parents report a 16% increase in daily reading with children
And there’s plenty more research available on how the Imagination Library is helping to improve school readiness and life outcomes, especially for vulnerable children.
Visit our research database to find out more about the lifelong benefits of this early literacy initiative.
See what our Partners are Saying about the Imagination Library!
“My daughter can’t wait to receive her book. She loves the surprise and re-reads it constantly.” Parent, NSW
View our video and case studies to see how the Imagination Library is helping children overcome the odds to reach their full potential.
Become a Community Partner!
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, organisation including Mission Australia, Save the Children, Rotary clubs, and community centres have started Imagination Libraries to support their existing early childhood development work.
What will I need?
To become a Community Partner and start your own Imagination Library, you’ll need:
- 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
Register your expression of interest here to be sent an information pack.
What support will I receive?
As an Imagination Library Community Partner, we’ll 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
- A Fundraising Pack filled with ideas and resources to help you sustain your Imagination Library
How do I begin signing up children?
We’ll provide you with an Imagination Library Registration Form to help you get the right books to the right children.
We’ll also provide you with templates for posters, sponsorship letters and media releases to help you increase local awareness and support for your Imagination Library.
Got more questions?
Then head over to our FAQs to see if we’ve got answers for you.
Our Community Partners
United Way Australia thanks our incredible dedicated community groups around the country – as well as to our own generous partners and supporters – for helping support almost 50 local Australian Imagination Libraries, each bringing quality free books and literacy resources to children aged 0-5.
Our Rotary Partners:
- Rotary Club of Albert Park
- Rotary Club of Bayswater
- Rotary Clubs of Illawarra
- Rotary Club of Macarthur Sunrise
- Rotary Club of Goodna
- Rotary Club of Gympie
- Rotary Club of Healesville
- Rotary Club of Noble Park
- Rotary Club of Redcliffe
- Rotary Club of Salisbury
- Rotary Club of Fairy Meadow
Our Community Partners
- Ardoch Youth Foundation
- Benevolent Society
- Berry Street
- Central Northern Regional Libraries
- Communities for Children
- Explore & Develop
- Gailes Community House
- Heathcote Community Services Association
- Inner Wheel
- Koolkan Community Centre
- Leichardt One Mile Community Centre
- Mission Australia
- Mundubbera Public School
- Noah’s Ark
- Nurturing Literacy Inc
- Paint the Town REaD
- Pormpur Paanthu Aboriginal Corporation
- Quantum Support Services
- Salisbury State School
- Save the Children
- Something About Hugo Foundation
- St Luke Anglicare
- Tamworth Regional Council
- The White Feather Foundation
- Victorian Aboriginal Childcare Agency
- Wesley Mission