Lorain County Imagination Library

Fostering a love of reading

Dolly Parton believes if you can read, you can do anything, dream anything, and be anything. Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Dolly started Imagination Library in 1995 for the children within her home of Sevier County, Tennessee. Today, the program gifts over 2 million free books each month to children worldwide, including nearly 11,000 children right here in Lorain County.

Imagination Library puts books into the hands and hearts of children and encourages kindergarten readiness, literacy, and emotional development. Additionally, children develop a special bond with their parents and other caregivers by reading together.


Lorain County children currently registered


children have graduated from LCIL

How LCIL Works

Lorain County children receive a free book, delivered right to their home, every month until age 5.

The age-appropriate books are hand-selected and mailed by a team at the Dollywood Foundation. The books are paid for through a partnership between the Lorain County Imagination Library Coalition, the Ohio General Assembly, and many local donors and foundations.


Lorain County Imagination Library Advisory Coalition

In 2015, United Way of Greater Lorain County introduced Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Lorain County in an effort to boost kindergarten readiness and child literacy in Elyria. In 2017, The Stocker Foundation expanded the program countywide, launching the Lorain County Imagination Library (LCIL). Under their guidance, LCIL grew exponentially, benefiting over 50% of eligible children.

Today, four organizations have partnered together to get books into the hearts of Lorain County children. Community Foundation of Lorain County serves as the local program partner overseeing fundraising, marketing, and advocacy. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio works to create key partnerships throughout the state. The Stocker Foundation oversees registrations and enrollments, while United Way of Greater Lorain County facilitates connections with our kindergarten-readiness cooperatives. Lastly, and most importantly, a team of local volunteers works to grow and strengthen this worthwhile program.

Empowering Lorain County children

The investment in early literacy translates into successful, productive teens and adults.

  • When a young child enters kindergarten ready for school, there is an 82% chance that the child will master basic skills by age 11, compared to 45% for those who are not school ready
  • At-risk children who do not receive high-quality early childhood experiences are 25% more likely to drop out of school, 40% more likely to become a teen parent, and 60% less likely to attend college

Support Childhood Literacy

Lorain County Imagination Library enables every child to build a library of their very own. A $25 donation provides books to one child for an entire year. With your support, LCIL can grow to provide books to 100% of Lorain County children.

Lorain County Imagination Library Coalition is always in need of volunteers to spread the word about this worthwhile program.  If you want to become involved or distribute promotional materials at your clinic, daycare, library, or other child-focused offices, please contact the Community Foundation of Lorain County at 440.984.7390.