Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

OCCDA is the local affiliate for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, an international program that supports early literacy by mailing a free, age-appropriate, high-quality, new book each month to registered children from birth until their 5th birthday. All children residing in Okanogan County and Bridgeport between the ages of birth to 5 are eligible for this program at no cost.

OCCDA began enrolling children in the Imagination Library in early 2019 and sent a total of 5,190 books to 918 local children in just the first 9 months! This program continues to gain momentum and we receive new child registrations every month.

Penguin Random House is the exclusive book publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and books are selected annually by a qualified committee at the Imagination Library Foundation. Many of the books include a custom insert endorsed by the United Way with guided activities to encourage interaction while reading, and every child receives two English/Spanish bilingual books annually. Children receive “The Little Engine that Could” at birth, and the final book they receive is “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come”.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program has received a “Best Practice Award” from the U.S. Library of Congress for addressing social barriers to literacy,

  1. Being able to read and write (literacy) are the most basic foundations of knowledge accumulation and skill development.
  2. Parents and caregivers are a child’s first teacher and set the course for developing a love of books and reading.
  3. The presence of books in a home supports a child’s academic, social, and emotional development.
  4. Children enrolled in the Imagination Library performed 25% better on composite variables of early literacy skills and strategies (such as, text and illustration orientation) and 19% better on word and letter concepts within text than those who did not participate in the Imagination Library.
  5. By the age of 2, children who are read to regularly display greater language comprehension, larger vocabularies, and higher cognitive skills than their peers. Raikes, H., Pan, B.A., Luze, G.J., Tamis-LeMonda, C.S.,Brooks-Gunn, J., Constantine,J., Tarullo, L.B., Raikes, H.A., Rodriguez, E. (2006). “Mother-child book reading in low-income families: Correlates and outcomes during the first three years of life.” Child Development, 77(4).
  6. Children who are read to at least three times a week by a family member are almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading compared to children who are read to less than 3 times a week. Denton, Kristen and Gerry West, Children’s Reading and Mathematics Achievement in Kindergarten and First Grade (PDF file), U.S. Department of Education, NCES, Washington, DC, 2002.
  7. Children growing up in homes with at least twenty books get three years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class. Evans, M. D., Kelley, J., Sikora, J., & Treiman, D. J. (2010). Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 28(2), 171-197.

All funding for this program is raised through contributions from local individual donors and businesses, while operational and administrative duties are fulfilled by local volunteers. All donations to our Imagination Library Program are used only to pay for the books and postage for children in Okanogan County and Bridgeport. For more information, visit or email