Dolly Parton Imagination Library is DeWitt Nonprofit of the Year

In a contest hosted by the DeWitt Chamber & Development Company, local residents voted the Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Clinton County “nonprofit of the year.” The Imagination Library has mailed over 90,000 books to registered children age 5 and younger since its inception in 2012, helping children in Clinton County prepare for kindergarten and a lifetime of reading and learning. 

One thousand children are currently enrolled in the program, and each receives one book a month for the first five years of their lives, providing each child with 60 age-appropriate books as they grow. Each book includes parent engagement tools to encourage young readers to predict, infer, draw conclusions and expand their vocabulary and comprehension. 

“My daughter and I love receiving our book every month. It gives us something to look forward to, and we love to read together,” wrote one parent who nominated the program for the award. 

“This program touches many young lives in a positive way. There is a special focus on low-income and special needs families, who may have difficult schedules, transportation barriers or live far from local libraries,” says Pat Henricksen, executive director of the LincolnWay Community Foundation, which manages the funding for the program. “We depend on support from United Way and generous community members to keep this opportunity alive for youth in our region.” 

Sending roughly 12,000 of these high-quality books annually costs about $24,000. Donations of just $25 will support sending books to a child each month for a year. Gifts of $125 support sending books to five children for a year. Support can be mailed to:

Imagination Library 

P.O. Box 225

DeWitt, IA 52742           

Other nominators added: 

“Free books and encouraging reading is very important and will give kids opportunities they might not otherwise have. It is one thing to check out a book. It is a whole other thing to actually have a book of your own.”

“The mission of this non-profit, to improve literacy and inspire a love for reading at a young age, is in my opinion one of the best ways to start building a stronger future.”

“We always enjoyed the books my kids received. Many times they were books we would not have chosen, but then ended up being our favorites! So the selection really helped diversify our family reading experiences.”

“These books change kids’ lives across the county. They are educational and fun and kids look forward to receiving them. In homes where money for books and toys may be sparse or not top priority, this program gives them light and worth!”

“They serve the whole county and work tirelessly to provide books for free to kids under five. They do so with little recognition when they are dramatically improving literacy in the county and really helping prepare preschoolers for kindergarten!”