Imagination Library Program Coming Soon to Delavan-Darien

Program will serve kids age 0-5

DELAVAN — Working with the Delavan-Darien Community Alliance and graduates of the 2016 Walworth County Leadership Academy, the Delavan-Darien School District will soon be offering free books to kids from birth to age 5 who live within the district boundaries.

The district and its partners are about to launch into the fundraising phase for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, which uses no tax dollars for the cause.

When enough donated seed funding becomes available, registration will be open to all kids so they can start receiving free books via US Mail each month.

The Dolly Parton Foundation provides the age-appropriate books to any eligible kids who are signed up. When they turn age 5 or move out of the area, they are removed from the program.

The costs are about $25-30 per year per child. By the time they age-out of the program, the kids can a library of 60 books and will hopefully have developed a love for reading.

The program is proven to show results in other communities that have it. It promotes youth literacy, which is vital to student success and success in adulthood.

Statistics show that if children cannot read by the end of their third grade year, they are at greater risk of dropping out of school, especially if they are in poverty.

A study by the Annie E. Casey foundation showed that 6.6 million children in poverty in the U.S. are at increased risk of dropping out of high school because they can’t read proficiently by fourth grade. Delavan-Darien has about 70% of students from low income families, according to free and reduced lunch program data.

The program does not have income eligibility requirements. It is a great way, though, to get books into the hands of kids who might not otherwise have access to appropriate reading materials.

The district is also hoping to build connections with the students and families who sign up to better prepare young readers before they enroll in 4-year-old kindergarten. This could yield better results for when students are in the classroom later.

Donation Options


Online donations made through Indiegogo.

Mailed Check

Make checks payable to “Delavan-Darien School District” and include “Imagination Library” on the subject line.
Mail to or drop off at:
School Administration Center
Attn: Mike Heine
324 Beloit St.
Delavan, WI 53115


Sponsorship opportunities are available in which donors will be recognized publicly, such as on our Imagination Library Website, speaking events about the program, social media blasts, etc. For more information contact:

Mike Heine
Coordinator of School/Community Relations

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I register my child?

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What is the program?

Dolly Parton created her Imagination Library in 1996 for preschoolers in Sevier County, TN, to guarantee access to books and inspire parents to read to their children as much as possible.

The Delavan-Darien School District & The Dolly Parton Imagination Library support early learning opportunities for all children birth to age 5 by sending new, age appropriate books to their homes and providing other resources that support early literacy, school readiness, and life- long learning.

Why do we need it here?

Educators have emphasized that reading with a pre-school child is the single most important activity to prepare a child for school.

Many children are not ready to succeed in kindergarten, and those who have not developed some basic literacy skills prior to entering school are 3 to 4 times more likely to drop out in later years.

By age 3, a child’s brain reaches 85% development, yet we spend 85% of our education funding after this age. There are very few programs to aid in early childhood learning, but Imagination Library can help!

How does it work?

From the day they are born, children who register for the program receive a book every month until their 5th birthday.

Preschoolers currently living in the community may enter the program at any time and begin receiving an age-appropriate book every month until age 5.

Families with preschool children who move into the area are eligible to register and become part of the program.

Participating families who move out of the community will exit the program at that time.

If a family has more than one preschool age child, each child may participate and receive their own library of books.

A committee of individuals from education, child development, academia, and early childhood literacy select the books for Dolly’s Imagination Library.

The children’s classic The Little Engine that Could is the first book of each library and Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate is the final book in the collection.

How can I help?


As an individual or business, you can be part of the solution! The cost is ~$30/child each year and there are about 1,300 children under age 5 in Delavan and Darien. The school district is accepting donations for this program to ensure every child has access to this opportunity. Donate online or bring a made out to “Delavan-Darien School District” with “Imagination Library” in the memo line and deliver to the School Administration Center, 324 Beloit St., Delavan, WI 53115.


Help us get the word out about this new program to businesses, individuals, and children under age 5. Share this page on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets using the links below.


To get involved, contact the Delavan-Darien School District at (262) 233-6700 and find out more. Visit our website at or find us on Facebook and Twitter @ddschools