Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Free Books For Children Under The Age Of 5!

The single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.

Give the love of reading to a child in your community. Sponsor one of over 6,000 children in Muskegon & Oceana Counties.  

Help us get books in the hands of more young readers! Make a donation today to have it matched by a generous gift from local business and community leader Nichols. They will be matching up to $35,000! This program is free to families with young children in our community. To make this possible, the cost of the books and mailing (approximately $2.00 per month or $25.00 annually) is covered by local funding.  Local affiliates of the Imagination Library have three responsibilities: to pay for the cost of the books, to register the children in their area, and to manage the local database. Through funding by generous donors and facilitated by the United Way of Lakeshore, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is available in our community. You can help! Click the button that says sponsor a child (or here) to donate and help us get children reading early and reading often!

What Is Dolly Parton's Imagination Library?

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library makes reading exciting and fun for your children! Each month a new, carefully selected book will be mailed in your child’s name directly to your home, with no cost or obligation to your family. It is a FREE GIFT, made possible by generous donations to United Way of the Lakeshore. 

Sign up for literacy tips to be sent to your phone daily! Text UnitedWayReads to 51555


Goodnight with Dolly


“Goodnight With Dolly” will feature Dolly Parton reading a series of Imagination Library books all carefully chosen for their appropriate content at this moment in time. Dolly welcomes the viewers and introduces the title, author and illustrator. Snuggled in bed with her Imagination Library book, Dolly shares stories that are just right for this moment in time. The readings will be a mixture of Dolly and the interior pages of the books.  The books will include “There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake” by Loren Long, “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney, “I Am a Rainbow” by Dolly Parton, “Pass It On” by Sophy Henn, “Stand Tall Molly Lou Mellon” by Patty Lovell, “Violet the Pilot” by Steve Breen, “Max & The Tag-Along Moon” by Floyd Cooper, “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña, “Coat of Many Colors” by Dolly Parton, and of course, “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper.

“This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but the timing never felt quite right. I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love. It is an honor for me to share the incredible talent of these authors and illustrators. They make us smile, they make us laugh and they make us think.” – Dolly Parton

How Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Got Started in Our Community

Thanks to generous donors like Kathy Evans, the Morgenstern Family, the Muskegon County Great Start Collaborative, and all those who donated through the Nichols "Matching in March" campaign, we are able to bring this wonderful program to families in Muskegon and Oceana counties.   

Kathy was awarded the Patricia B. Johnson Award for Community Leadership and Innovative Grantmaking in 2014, which included an Impact Grant from the foundation to the nonprofit of her choice. She chose United Way of the Lakeshore, using the funds to help launch the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program in our community. The Morgenstern children and grandchildren made a donation to United Way of the Lakeshore in honor of Richard and Nancy Morgenstern as a Christmas gift that same year.  This generous donation was also used to help establish the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program. A grant from the Muskegon County Great Start Collaborative rounded out the initial funding to get the Library up and running. With their help, we were able to start a pilot program for children age birth to five in Holton and Muskegon Heights.

In 2017, Nichols generously offered to match up to $25,000 in donations during March is Reading month, raising nearly $50,000 to expand the program! In 2018, Nichols generously offered another match - up to $35,000! Thank you, Nichols, for you continued committment to our littlest learners.

We are so grateful for the support of those who understand the importance of having this program in our community!


The Dollywood Foundation is committed to supporting local Imagination Library programs and communities. One focus of our recent work has been identifying common outcomes for all Imagination Library programs. This will ensure we are all on the same page and provide the best program possible for children and families. These research-based outcomes were identified through reviews of the literature and are considered to be building blocks for lifelong literacy, supported by the research, and aligned with the Imagination Library’s philosophy and goals.




Thank you to our donors and partners. 


Libraries in Muskegon and Oceana Counties.

Numerous individual donors who are passionate about early literacy.