Give a Child a Lifetime of Opportunity with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

December 1, 2020 (Canton, Ohio)-Early literacy is one of Stark Library’s core missions—we believe that building a solid foundation today will build a better community tomorrow. That’s why we are excited to be a part of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. 

Through this program, kids in Stark County can receive a free book every month until they’re 5 years old— that’s up 60 books in their personal library! This program is brought to the children of Stark County through a partnership between Stark Library, United Way of Greater Stark County, and other area libraries.

“Children who grow up with books are inspired to dream more, do more, and be more, and we want to encourage that,” said Mary Ellen Icaza, CEO and Executive Director of Stark Library. “The Imagination Library not only builds a child’s home library; it also fosters a love of reading and learning, which sets them up for lifelong success.”

Dolly Parton is a champion of childhood literacy.  She was inspired to begin Imagination Library due to her own father’s inability to read and write. Her goal was to foster a love of reading among preschool children and their families. The program began in her home county and has grown to include participating communities around the world. So far, it has gifted more than 148 million books worldwide and more than 50,000 right here in Stark County!

The program is provided at no charge to families, but it is funded through donations and partnerships. Ohio First Lady DeWine became a huge supporter of the Imagination Library when she saw the impact it had in her own family. To ensure every child in Ohio had the same opportunity to participate, she established the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, which helps offset the cost of the program for local affiliates. It doesn’t take much to set a child up for success—including the match from the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, just $62.50 funds one child fully for the five-year program. 

Right now, Stark Library is joining Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library affiliates around the world to raise funds for the program ahead of the exclusive worldwide premiere of "The Library That Dolly Built: Celebrating the People Who Made Dolly's Dream Come True." This feature-length documentary, covering the history, impact, and future of the Imagination Library, will premiere on Facebook on December 9, at 7 pm. Dolly will also be singing "Try" in her first-ever Facebook event!

To learn more, to sign up, or to support the program, please visit