Open Books Presents:
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Chicago

Open Books Presents Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Chicago

Each year, Open Books gives away more than 150,000 high-quality, hand-selected used books to Chicago’s children and their families. Meanwhile, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has sent more than 110 million brand-new books to 1.3 million children around the world. It couldn’t be a better match…and so, starting in December 2018, we are thrilled and honored to be bringing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to our city as their exclusive Chicago affiliate.

The program is simple. After being registered, children aged 0-5 receive a free book in the mail each month directly from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. We’re launching in the North Lawndale community and will roll out to every ward by 2020, with a goal of making Chicago the highest-participating city in the nation.

Like us, Dolly Parton believes in the transformational power of books. We’re looking forward to sharing that power with more of Chicago’s families than ever.

Live in North Lawndale?

Zip codes 60623 or 60624: Sign up now!

Live elsewhere in Chicago?

Join the Waiting List!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my child eligible to receive free books?

This program is open to all children who live within the city limits of Chicago and are under the age of 5. If a child is 5 or older at the time of registration, they will not be considered eligible for the program.

How do I register my child for the program?

Eligible children can be registered by a parent or guardian through this online form. A current Chicago address, as well as the name, date of birth, and gender of the child must be provided for registration to take place. Contact information for the child’s parent or guardian will also be requested to ensure easy communication should there be any problems with the child’s registration.

If a parent or guardian would prefer not to register their child online, it is also possible to do so at designated in-person locations. Details coming soon!

Can I register multiple children for the program?

As long as each child is under the age of 5 and lives in Chicago, they are eligible for the program, regardless of the number of eligible children living in the same household. In order to register multiple children, simply complete and submit the online form once for each child or provide the representative at a designated in-person registration site with the appropriate information for each child. Please note that only a child’s parent or legal guardian may register them for the program.

When will my child receive their first book?

Mailed delivery of a child’s first book will likely occur 8-10 weeks after registration has been processed. Every registered child, regardless of age, will receive a new copy of The Little Engine That Could as their first book of the program.

How will my child receive the books?

Each month, children registered for the program will receive a new, free book in the mail at the home address provided during registration. Books may arrive up until the last day of the month, and participating children living at the same address will likely not receive their books on the same day.

How are the books selected?

All books mailed to children through the program are chosen by a team of early literacy experts appointed by the Dollywood Foundation. Books are age-appropriate and are chosen to meet the specific needs of children at each stage of their development.

When will my child stop receiving books?

Children graduate from the program when they turn 5 years old and stop receiving books at that time. A child will also stop receiving books if they move to an address outside of the Chicago program coverage area. In the event that a child becomes ineligible for the program as a result of a move, it is possible to check whether the child’s new home address falls within the coverage area of another Dolly Parton Imagination Library affiliate. If this is the case, the child may be transferred from one program to another and continue receiving free books until the age of 5.