Our Impact: Early Childhood Development

Imagination. Vocabulary. Basic literacy and numeracy. Bonding. Self-confidence.

The chance to overcome disadvantage.

The opportunity to thrive.

These are just some of the benefits books in the home and shared reading offer. Research shows that children who are read to, talked to and sung to are not only happier on a day to day basis – they will have better cognitive capacity throughout the rest of their life. That’s why in 2018, getting more quality books into the hands of Australian children was our number one priority.

With your support, we were able bring the Imagination Library into the homes of thousands of families, many of whom would not have been able to afford these books for their children otherwise. Thanks to you, these children will now have the skills and confidence to start school ready to read, learn and succeed.

Here’s what we achieved together for children in our community:

228,000+ BOOKS

delivered to children in more than 50 Australian communities as at the end of 2018. 

10,000+ children

reached through the Imagination Library, targeting communities with high rates of childhood vulnerability.

97% of parents

and carers said the books were useful for teaching children about words, sounds, colours and the world around them.

50+ communities

engaged in building awareness and support for shared reading.

“My daughter LOVES getting her book in the mail each month, she’s always so excited to read it. The program’s got us reading books we might otherwise not have picked up.

– Parent, West Ryde, NSW

“Our 3yo asks for his ‘mail book’. The books are well-chosen, and the tips leaflet is great for teaching parents how to engage their children in the magic of books. This is such a wonderful resource – and we are so appreciative that we can be part of it.”

– Parent, Brisbane South, QLD

“I’m currently doing it pretty tough financially and wouldn’t have been able to afford all of these beautiful books myself. But because of this program, my daughter hasn’t missed out on a thing. Thank you for the opportunity to share the love of books with her.’”

– Parent, Central Coast, NSW

Case studies

A family’s love of books

Even though Jane has graduated the Imagination Library, her love of books remains. From getting her brother excited about his special book delivery, to encouraging her mum to sign her up to the local library, the Imagination Library has brought a love of learning to Jane and her whole family!

Free quality books for pre-schoolers!

In 2018 we paved the way for hundreds more children to receive Imagination Library books, with the program receiving recognition and funding eligibility under the Victorian Government’s School Readiness initiative. We’re thrilled to be able to get more books into the hands of children and help them start school ready to thrive.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

With the milestone of delivering 100 million books worldwide, and more than 220,000 in Australia, 2018 was an incredible year for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and for children building a love of books and learning everywhere.

Thanks to hundreds of dedicated community groups around the country, as well as to our own generous partners and supporters, there are now around 50 local Australian Imagination Libraries, each bringing quality free books, literacy resources and the chance of a brighter future to children aged 0-5.

For their fantastic support in making this possible, we would like to thank the following fabulous partners and sponsors:

Our Supply Partners:

Our Sponsors



Return to the 2018 Annual Report homepage:

2018 Annual Report

Find out more about our early childhood work:

Early Childhood Initiatives