Imagination Library

Since establishing the Imagination Library in SLO County, United Way has given out more than 10,000 books to local children!

Each child enrolled in the program receives a new, age-appropriate book every month from enrollment through five years of age. From their first book, “The Little Engine That Could”, through the last book of the series, “Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come,” all books are reviewed and selected by a panel of experts.

With United Way covering the cost of enrollment for many children, Imagination Library is especially valuable for low-income families who may find books to be an unaffordable luxury.  However, the number of children we enroll corresponds to the amount of generous donations received, and children who are not directly sponsored for free enrollment may be placed on a waiting list.

The community is invited to support this effort by donating to our Imagination Library fund, giving the gift of literacy to local children. As little as $50 will enroll a child for one year, and as much as $250 will keep them enrolled for the full five years!  Will you help sponsor a child for the Imagination Library program?

One year enrollment = $50
Two year enrollment = $100
Three year enrollment = $150
Four year enrollment = $200
Five year enrollment = $250

If you are interested in sponsoring a specific child for Imagination Library, call United Way at (805) 541-1234. To make a general donation toward the program, please visit our donation page. To sign a child up on the waitlist, click here

Studies show that if a child can read at grade level by the time she or he is in fourth grade, they increase their chances of succeeding in middle school and graduating on time from high school. This program gets children excited about reading and before they even enter kindergarten, they can have their own personal library. It also helps strengthen families by encouraging positive interaction between adults and children through shared reading.

Developed in 1996 by writer and singer Dolly Parton, the Imagination Library is intended to encourage a love of reading and learning. Her impoverished childhood and father’s illiteracy inspired the country legend to create the program in her native Sevier County, Tennessee. Since then, the Imagination Library has delivered over 100 million books around the world, and on February 27, 2018, the 100 millionth book was dedicated to the Library of Congress. 


Imagination Library is generously sponsored by Friends of the late Larry Baur, C.P.A.