As a past supporter of Cortland’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program, I thought you would appreciate seeing the
DPIL 2023 Annual Report Infographic summarizing the program’s enrollment, expenses and funding stats. Whether you made a donation, purchased a Corn Ducky Derby ticket, or your organization awarded us funds, I hope seeing the program’s local impact, wide community support, and low overhead makes you feel good about your decision to help sustain and grow this program locally. I know it makes me feel very thankful for YOU and what we have accomplished together.
What is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library?
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is an international nonprofit that promotes early childhood literacy by providing age-appropriate books each month to children from newborn to age 5 — at no cost to the family and regardless of income. Dolly Parton created this program to foster a love of reading and learning among preschool children and their families. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wants children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create.
How does the Imagination Library benefit children?
Inspiring the love of reading and learning early in a child’s life helps to develop strong literacy skills. Statistics and independent reports have shown Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library drastically improves early childhood literacy and enhances kindergarten readiness for children enrolled in the program. Children read more when books are in the home!
But isn’t my child too young to read?
It’s never too soon to start reading to your child! Reading aloud to young children is a key literacy-boosting activity. A study done by Le Moyne College faculty found that the longer a child is enrolled in the program, the more frequently parents will read to their children, and the more likely that an adult will discuss the story with the child.
Does my child get to keep the books?
Yes! These books are your child’s to keep forever! The Imagination Library creates a love of book ownership, encouraging a love of reading as an everyday activity. For many of the children that this program will reach, these will be the first books that these children will own.
Is the Imagination Library really free?
This program is offered to families at no cost regardless of income. All we ask is that families use the books to read together!
This sounds too good to be true. How can you mail a child a quality book every month at no cost?
While it is true that there is no cost to participating families, the Cortland Free Library must raise local funds to support this program. Funding for this program is not included in the library’s budget. Therefore, we rely solely on donations and grants. And because all work related to DPIL (registrations, fundraising, and awareness, etc.) is done by volunteers, all money raised goes directly to the program itself.
Thanks to the Dollywood Foundation’s partnerships with book publishers -- and the related discounts – we are able to keep our local cost to only $2.50 per book including mailing costs. That means just $30 provides one child with 12 quality, age-appropriate books in a year – one book every month!
Who can donate?
Anyone can make a tax-deductible donation – parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, teachers, businesses, local organizations, and anyone else who wants to help sustain this program in Cortland. Donors of $1500 or more will be recognized as a sponsor on the mailing labels of the monthly Imagination Library books.
How do I donate to this program?
To make a tax-deductible donation, make your check payable to the Cortland Free Library with “Imagination Library” in the memo line. Bring or mail it to Cortland Free Library, 32 Church Street, Cortland, New York 13045. You can also donate online.
How much does the Cortland Free Library need to raise in local funds?
We need to raise $30 per child per year. After launching DPIL in Cortland in October 2015, enrollment just took off. For the last four years, we have remained relatively steady with an average of approximately 550 children active in the program each year.
Who can participate?
Any child under the age of 5 whose parent/guardian resides in the 13045 zip code can participate. A child’s participation ends on his/her 5th birthday.
What if I don’t live in the 13045 zip code?
Children who do not live with their parents/guardians in the 13045 zip code cannot participate through our program. You can check whether your area offers the Imagination Library program by clicking on “Check Availability” on the imaginationlibrary.com website.
Do I (the parent/guardian) or my child need to have a library card?
No, but we encourage you to get one. You and your child can explore the wonderful selection of books and the dynamic programs available in the children’s library. The library and all of its programs are FREE to the public.
My child will be five in two months. Can I still sign her/him up?
Sorry, registrations received within 10 weeks of the child’s 5th birthday cannot be processed in time for the child to receive a book from the Imagination Library. Instead why not consider regular trips to the Cortland Free Library where you and your child can select books from the Children’s department. If your child doesn’t already have a library card, please stop at our circulation desk to get one.
My child will be born next month. Can I sign her/him up now?
Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your child! You can sign your child up once he/she is born.
What happens to my child’s books if we move?
Please notify the Cortland Free Library of your address change so that we can update the Imagination Library database. If you move within the 13045 zip code AND you notify the library of your new address, your child will continue to receive their books.
If you move outside of the 13045 zip code, your child can no longer receive Imagination Library books through our program. However, if there is an organization offering the Imagination Library in your new area, we can transfer your child to that affiliate.
How do I ENROLL my child?
A parent or guardian can enroll their child online at https://imaginationlibrary.com/. Click on “Check Availability” and follow the prompts. The address you provide during registration must be the same address used by the US Post Office.
What if I have more than one child?
Each child can be signed up to receive their very own Imagination Library. The Imagination Library’s book selection committee rotates some books each year so siblings do not receive full sets of identical titles.
How soon will my child get his/her first book?
The first book will arrive at your home about six to eight weeks after registering. Your child will then continue to receive a new, age-appropriate book at their home each month until their fifth birthday or you move out of the 13045 zip code.
Do we have to come to the Cortland Free Library to pick up our Imagination Library book?
No, the Dollywood Foundation will mail the book to your child at the address you provide on the registration form.
ABOUT THE BOOKS
How are the books picked? Will they be appropriate for my child?
A Dollywood Foundation committee of childhood education experts determines appropriate themes for each age group, including: visual and playful stimulation in year one; repetition and body awareness in year two; love, colors and letters in year three; diversity of others and poetry in year four; and riddles, science and appreciation in year five.
All families receive The Little Engine that Could as their first “welcome” book, and Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come as the “graduation” book. Other titles are a mix of well-known classics and soon-to-be new favorites. Some bilingual books feature both English and Spanish text.
Give a child the gift of reading!
Make a tax-deductible donation to
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL).
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a nonprofit that promotes early childhood literacy by mailing age-appropriate books each month to children from newborn to age five — at no cost to the family and regardless of income. Read our FAQ for the complete story.
How do I make a tax-deductible donation?
We can accept your generous contribution via check made payable to Cortland Free Library and earmarked for the “Imagination Library.” This is the preferred means of donation because 100% of the funds will go to the program. Mail or bring your check to:
Cortland Free Library
32 Church St.
Cortland, NY 13045
You can also donate online, however a portion of the funds will automatically be taken for a mandatory fee. To donate online, click here, select your amount, and select "Dolly Parton's Imagination Library."
Thank you for any support you can give. Here are some options you may want to consider:
$1500 – Give 50 children one book every month for one year.**
$300 – Give 10 children one book every month for one year.
$150 – Give 5 children one book every month for one year.
$ 90 – Give 3 children one book every month for one year.
$ 30 – Give 1 child one book every month for one year.
**Donors of $1500 or more will be recognized as a sponsor on the books' mailing labels.**