Imagine Free Books for Kids

Imagine if every child had books in their home. Now, imagine if every child was read to from birth, which helps young brains develop language, vocabulary and other important cognitive skills. Realize that 61 percent of low income families have no children’s books in their homes. Only half of babies and toddlers are read to regularly—not just in low-income families, but across all incomes and educational levels.

How do we change this? You make it convenient, comfortable and part of the family’s daily routine.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a free book program that promotes literacy skills for all children from birth to 5 years old. Each month a new, carefully selected book will be mailed in the child’s name directly to their home. The library and United Way of Greater Topeka have joined together to make Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library available to all children who live in Shawnee County to help prepare them for kindergarten.

“Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has been shown to improve early childhood literacy for children in the program,” said Gina Millsap, CEO, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. “Community donors underwrite the costs of the books and the postage for mailing to the child’s home. That’s 60 times a child will rush to the mailbox asking ‘Is there something for me?’”

To sign up your child (birth – 5 years) for this program visit, select the registration link and complete the registration form. Your child will start receiving books eight to 10 weeks after the registration form is received. Your child will receive a book every month until they turn 5 or you move out of Shawnee County. Books are mailed to the address on the registration form. If the child’s address changes, you must change your address at the Parent Portal or call United Way 2-1-1 with the new address.

Ginger Park

As the library’s communications editor Ginger helps spread the word about all the amazing library resources, services and staff. Ginger has a bachelor's and master’s in communication from Washburn and K-State. She is a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters and a volunteer at Helping Hands Humane Society. She loves reading fiction and always has a stack of books waiting to be read. Ginger lives in Topeka with her husband and three dogs.