All Lane County families are now eligible to participate in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. The service promotes reading and learning by sending young children a new book in the mail every month, free of charge. Sign up at imaginationlibrary.com.
Until this year, a group of local Imagination Library affiliates served thousands of children in Lane County. But some addresses fell between their service areas.
Starting January 1, 2022 a new partnership among Eugene Public Library, Eugene Public Library Foundation, Northwest Community Credit Union and United Way of Lane County ensures coverage for previously unserved Lane County address. This expansion is made possible by Northwest Community Credit Union's commitment to donate $250,000 over the next five years.
Imagination Library serves children from birth through age four. The first book each child receives is “The Little Engine That Could." When a child turns five, they receive “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!”
Imagination Library was started in 1995 by Dolly Parton to serve her home county in Tennessee. In response to her father’s inability to read and write, she hoped to bring opportunity and a love of reading to young children by gifting books. Today, Imagination Library spans five countries and sends over 1 million free books each month to children around the world.
In order to make the program financially possible, the central organization uses economies of scale to print and mail all the books, as well as to administer an expert committee who select books to match the learning needs of each age group. Because of this structure, the cost to print and mail a brand-new, high-quality book is only about $2.10 per child each month. Each local nonprofit affiliate raises funds for and administers the program for a particular geographic area.