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Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Logo: an open book with a train emerfing from a tunnel of books

Join the Imagination Library

Lake County Public Library is pleased to bring Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to our school districts!

Children under age five in every LCPL school district are eligible to participate. Print your application here, pick one up at any LCPL branch, or give us a call at (219) 769-3541 ext. 308.

Supported School Districts

The LCPL Foundation has provided the seed money and pledged annual support for as many children as their budget allows. But as the program grows we will need your help to bring books into every child's home.

Make a Donation Online 

 Donation Tiers  Our Sponsors

$100 supports one child for the duration of the program. Every dollar helps - and yes, your donation is tax deductible! Why do we need donations?

(Note: A library card is not required to make a donation! We use the information on your card to send a thank you note, but you can make your donation anonymous by leaving out the library card number if you choose.)

To donate by check: Please make checks out to LCPL Gift Fund. You can bring a check to any library or mail it to 1919 W 81st Ave, Merrillville, IN, 46410 Attn: Director's Office. If you would like your donation to remain anonymous, just let us know!

What is Imagination Library?

The Imagination Library provides one free book every month to The books Llama Llama Red Pajama, Last Stop on Market Street, and Shh Bears Sleepingchildren from birth to age four living in a supported school district. All parents have to do is apply and their eligible child will begin receiving a new book in the mail every month until they turn five.

There are no fees, the books are delivered directly to the child's home, and the child gets to keep them forever.

Why is that important?

Studies show that children who grow up surrounded by books do better in school. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for example, found that reading aloud to children at a young age has a positive impact on brain development.

The National Commission on Reading states that “The single most significant factor influencing a child's early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.”

It's the LCPL Foundation's goal to give every child possible the advantage of having books and reading opportunities at home. Parents can get an Imagination Library application at any LCPL location.

We made the paper! Read about the Imagination Library in the Chicago Tribune.

Why do you need donations?

The Imagination Library is free to families because it is funded by the LCPL Foundation in partnership with the Imagination Library. The Imagination Library acquires the books at cost from Penguin Random House, and LCPL is only responsible for shipping fees.

The LCPL Foundation has budgeted enough money to support 2400 children annually; for the rest, we rely on the generous donations of corporate sponsors and people like you who care about the future of Lake County.

Supported School Districts:

LCPL school districts include:

Lake Central
Lake Ridge
Lake Station
River Forest

Not sure if you're eligible? Check your address here. Use the "Search by Address" tab and enter your home address to see which school district and library district you belong to.

You can learn more about what districts are and are not part of the Lake County Public Library district here. Still have questions about school districts? Call us at (219) 769-3541 ext. 374.

Parent FAQs

How do I apply?

You can pick up an application at your favorite LCPL branch or print an application here. Fill it out and return it to the library or scan it and email it to

You can also give us a call at (219) 769-3541 ext. 308 to complete an application over the phone.

What books are included in the program?

See the full list of books the Imagination Library mails out here!

How do I manage/make changes to my Imagination Library account?

3-5 business days after your application has been accepted, you'll receive an email from Imagination Library with log in instructions. Check your spam folder if you haven't gotten it!

Here is the log in page. You can go here to check your child's status, update your mailing address and email, and see what books are set to be mailed each month and when. 

How long before my child starts receiving books?

You start receiving books 6 - 8 weeks after applying.

I think we missed a book delivery.

Books are usually delivered by the third week of the month, but they can arrive at any point during the month, right up to the last day. 

If you didn't receive your delivery and your address is correct in your Parent Portal, complete a Post Office Help Request form. If the book is still not delivered within 7 days after submitting the form, submit a missing mail request with the Post Office.

If you need help, please contact us!

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