Free books for Gig Harbor youngsters, courtesy of Dolly Parton 

Posted on August 8th, 2022 By:

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is coming to Gig Harbor thanks to a partnership with Gig Harbor Rotary and Altrusa International of Gig Harbor.

The book-gifting program, operating under the umbrella of Parton’s Dollywood Foundation, delivers a free book by mail each month to children from birth to 5 years old whose parents register them with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Free books program background

Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Parton started her Imagination Library in 1995 in the United States. Her vision was to foster a love of reading among the country’s preschool children. Today, the program spans five countries — the U.S., Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland — with more than 2 million children enrolled and more than 1 million books delivered each month.

“When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true,” Parton says on the program’s website. “I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer. The seeds of these dreams are often found in books, and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”

How it works

The foundation covers most overhead costs including administration, selection of books, database, publisher negotiations that keep book costs low, and shipping to distribution centers in each country.

Local partners cover the cost of books and postage for mailing within a specific geographic area. A local host is required for children in any given area to enroll. To check if your area is part of the program, go to and enter your zip code.

Age-appropriate books are chosen by a selection panel. To date, more than 186 million books have been gifted through the program.

Here’s how it works:

  • Enroll your child at
  • In six to eight weeks, your child will receive their first book in the mail, “The Little Engine that Could.”
  • Books arrive by mail monthly until your child’s fifth birthday.

Local funding for the program comes from the Gig Harbor Rotary Charitable Fund, PO Box 342, Gig Harbor, Washington 98335; [email protected].