Imagine What Books Can Do

United Way and Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library are ready to make sure that every preschool child in Shawnee County can have books of their very own. Generous community donations have provided the initial $250,000 investment to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to the area. The program is free to participants, but relies on community partners to cover administration and mailing costs.

Signup will begin soon—final setup and system testing begins in March. Signup details will be announced on social media and on the United Way website.

Children living in Shawnee County are eligible from the day they are born and if continuously enrolled will receive a book each month through their fifth birthday.

Access to print (books) has been identified as a primary indicator of a child’s school readiness. Even before they know what words or letters are, children learn and practice pre-reading behavior like how to hold a book and turn pages and understanding that spoken words are related to the pictures in a book. Being read to increases bonding with trusted adults or older siblings. All of this pre-literacy practice allows kids to experience reading success and make better progress when they enter kindergarten.

Thank you to all the United Way and library donors who have made it possible to start this initiative. Watch for your opportunity to ensure the long-term presence of the Imagination Library as we push for our $1 million sustainability goal.