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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!

Register A Child In The ProgramWhat 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.

Who is eligible?

Children ages birth through five who are residents of Muskegon or Oceana County. (Note: children signing up should not be turning five within 3 months of application.)

What are my responsibilities as a parent in the program?

  • Be a legal resident of Muskegon or Oceana County.
  • Register online.
  • Notify United Way if your address changes. (Books are mailed to the address listed on the official registration form on file, so you must update your address in order to continue receiving books.)
  • Read with your child - young children whose parents read aloud to them have better language and literacy skills when they go to school.

When will I receive books?

Eight to ten weeks after you register, books will begin arriving at your home, continuing until your child turns five or you move out of Muskegon or Oceana County.
To learn more about the program, become a financial supporter, or to join our workgroup to bring Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to more kids in our community, please contact Kayla at (231) 332-4047 or email


To learn more about Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, visit the website here.

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

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.