Dolly Parton’s “Imagination Library” now available to Bemidji area kids

The United Way of the Bemidji Area announced that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is now available for Bemidji children.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a nonprofit organization that promotes early childhood literacy by giving free age-appropriate books to children from birth to the age of five. Educators stress that reading with your pre-school child is the single-most important activity to prepare a child for school. The Imagination Library was created to guarantee access to books and to inspire parents to read to their children as much as possible.

“There is a wealth of research showing the benefits of reading aloud to young children, beginning at infancy,” Denae Alamano, Executive Director of United Way of Bemidji Area shares, “We are excited to prepare children for success in reading and learning simply by reading and sharing books together in the years before they start school.”

This program is available to all children who reside within the ISD 31 school district and parents and guardians can enroll children from birth up to their fifth birthday by completing a registration form, which is available at the United Way of Bemidji Area’s office, or online at https://imaginationlibrary.com.

Children will receive their first book within eight to ten weeks of enrollment and will continue to receive a book each month until their fifth birthday, as long as they reside in the ISD 31 school district. While Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is free to participating families, it does directly cost the United Way of Bemidji Area $30 per child each year, due to the cost of the books and postage.

Enrollment in Imagination Library is open to everyone; however, funding is limited, and United Way is capping enrollment at 350 children. A waiting list will be formed after the program reaches capacity and children on that list will be added to the program as other children “graduate” from the program. “We will be working strategically to ensure organizations that provide support to underserved families will have Imagination Library enrollment materials on hand,” Alamano stated.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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