Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library launching in Longietti’s district

National reading program provides free books for young readers

HERMITAGE, March 5 – Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – a unique, internationally recognized literacy program that gifts monthly books to children from birth to 5 – is coming to the 7th Legislative District, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced today.  

Longietti, who is Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, said he worked with United Way of Mercer County and local foundations to bring the program to the area because of its proven literacy benefits.

“I am thrilled about the local launch of Imagination Library here in our district because the program inspires a love for reading in children at the youngest ages, when it makes the greatest impression,” Longietti said. “By delivering a new book to the child’s home every month, the program gets kids excited about reading and strengthens family ties. Something magical happens when a parent, grandparent or other caregiver puts a child in their lap and reads to them. 

"Most important, the program helps build the skills linked to success later in life. Decades of research show early reading builds cognitive and communication skills, improves attention span and creativity, and promotes social and emotional development by opening kids’ minds to new worlds and situations, and teaching them coping and problem-solving skills."

Longietti said Imagination Library negotiates wholesale pricing for the books and then works with local partners, which enroll children, promote the program and secure the costs ($2.10 per child per month) so the books are 100% free to families. United Way of Mercer County is spearheading the program locally.

United Way Project Director Lori Schaller said, “Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library offers an exciting opportunity for young children in our region to develop a love of reading and learning, and we are excited this valuable resource will be available to families."

Parents can register their children by visiting or contacting United Way of Mercer County at 724-981-1884. Those interested in being sponsors can also call.

Imagination Library first launched in 1995 and by last year had gifted 150 million books. More information about the program is available here: