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Today's Family Magazine

Mentor children can get free books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Families with young children in Mentor, Mentor-on-the-Lake and Concord Township can now get picture books mailed to their house for free thanks to United Way of Lake County, its Emerging Leaders affinity group, The Literacy Cooperative, Mentor Public Library and Dolly Parton.

Children younger than five in those communities can now receive free high-quality, brand-new, age-appropriate books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.  Once the kids are signed up, they’ll have one book mailed to their home each month until they turn 5 years old.

And those free books can make a big difference for children as they prepare for kindergarten and life.

“Evidence shows that participation in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library increases family reading and children’s interest in books leading to improved preparation for kindergarten,” said Robert Paponetti, president & CEO of The Literacy Cooperative.

And, in Lake County, 52 percent of children enter kindergarten without sufficient skills, knowledge and abilities to engage in kindergarten-level instruction. 

Families can register to receive books at or in person at one of Mentor Public Library’s branches.

Dolly Parton began the Imagination Library in her hometown of Sevier County, Tennessee, in 1995.  It was her way of encouraging reading and childhood literacy.  In the past 25 years, the program has spread across the country and even to United Kingdom and more.