The NYC Imagination Library

We hope everyone is safe and sound (and dry!) on the East Coast after this past weekend of wild weather. We’re certainly very happy that New York City was spared from the worst that was expected!


Harold and I recently came across a really fantastic resource for parents with young kids that we wanted to share with you. As fans of books, the NYC Public Library and Dolly Parton, we were excited to discover that Dolly’s “Imagination Library” is coming soon to our city! She started this FREE early education/preschool reading program in 1996 in Tennessee as a way to increase children’s educational opportunities, especially their exposure to reading. Since then, it has spread throughout the U.S. and even to the United Kingdom and Canada.


So, how will the NYC Imagination Library work? The library is co-sponsored by the New York City Department of Education, who will pay for the books and mailing, promotion of the program and register each child. And then the Dollywood Foundation takes over to make sure high-quality children’s books – one new book per month along with read-aloud tips and resources for parents – get delivered to families that enroll. And, as mentioned, it’s completely free!


Studies have proven that reading aloud to your children during their preschool years (and even their infant months!) is the single most important factor that contributes to their future success in school. So, if you live in New York City, you can hardly afford to miss this opportunity. Getting books delivered right to your doorstep also can save some time for busy moms and dads, because you can cut down the number of times you have to schlep to your local library. That means more time spent sharing the gift of reading with your kids!


According to their brochure, this reading program will …


  • Help every child, regardless of language, cultural or economic differences develop a love for reading so they can build their vocabulary and be ready for success in school.
  • Get parents comfortable with reading aloud to their kids and sharing the reading experience.
  • Strengthen bonds between moms and dads and their kids as they make reading at home a priority.
  • Give all children entering the NYC school system common experiences, because they will have read the same books.
  • Allow kindergarten and first-grade teachers to use these shared experiences as a way to keep kids’ interested and strengthen the teaching and learning process.
  • Get rid of the achievement gap that often has some kids lagging behind in school.


The program is available to families with kids ages 0-5. We definitely encourage you to sign up today on the NYC Imagination Library website! And if you’re not in New York City, and your city or town has yet to get behind this resource, you can visit the original Imagination Library website to see how you can get your community behind it. Happy reading! xo – Amelia and Harold