Wake County Smart Start
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
4901 Waters Edge Dr.
Suite 101
Raleigh, NC 27606


(919) 723-9272

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library!







We are excited to announce that registration is REOPENED for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library!

FAMILIES CAN REGISTER ONLINE HERE or complete a PAPER FORM and mail it to Wake County Smart Start Imagination Library (4901 Waters Edge Dr., Suite 101, Raleigh, NC 27606).

What can you expect from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library?

  • A brand-new, carefully selected book will be mailed directly to your child each month until their 5th birthday.
  • Your child’s first book should arrive 8–10 weeks after registration.
  • The first book ALL children receive is Dolly’s favorite: The Little Engine That Could.
  • Children receive their last book, Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come, the month of their 5th birthday, when the program ends.
  • Frequently Asked Questions
    • I’m pregnant. Can I add my unborn child to the waiting list?
    • I have twins. Will they receive the same book every month?
      • Yes. Instead of receiving two identical books every month, families with twins can enroll both children as one. We can put both children’s names on the mailing label so they will receive the gift together each month.
    • My older child already receives books. If I enroll my younger child, will they receive the same books that my older child did?
      • The Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Book Selection Committee rotates approximately 25% of titles for each age group each year, so, yes, they may receive some of the same books. Families who enroll multiple children and therefore receive some “repeat” books can choose to donate the duplicates to homeless shelters, school libraries, and other nonprofits. Please remember to peel the mailing label from the back of the books before donating to protect your privacy.
    • Why do my child’s books come at different times every month?
      • Penguin Random House specially prints Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library books every month, keeping program costs affordable. The different age groups’ books are mailed as they are ready, which varies from month to month. Your children’s books can arrive at any point in the month.
    • I am moving. How do I change my address?
      • It is extremely important to remember to contact us to change your address when you move. You may reach the Imagination Library coordinator by email or by calling (919) 723-9272. If you provided an email address during registration, you can also change your address through your parent account. If you move outside of Wake County, you can no longer receive books from the Imagination Library through Wake County Smart Start. However, you can check here to see if it is available in your new area.
    • How long does it take to receive my child’s first book once I have received the email that my child has been enrolled?
      • It can take 8-10 weeks after enrollment for your child to receive their first book. For example, if you sign up in September, your child will receive the first book in November. Because the national organization is so large, it takes a little while to get new addresses into their system. But once you get the first book, a new book will be delivered regularly every month until your child’s 5th birthday.
    • My child stopped receiving books. What happened?
      • If your child recently turned 5 years old, they have graduated from the program. Their last book should have been Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! If you moved, please contact us and give us your new address as books are not forwarded. If your new address is still in Wake County, we can update your child’s account and they should receive the next book at your new address in 8-10 weeks. If your new address is outside of Wake County, we will attempt to transfer your registration to an affiliate serving your new community.
    • What is a parent account?
      • If you provided an email address during registration, a parent account is automatically created for you. Once your child is approved and active in the program, parent account information, including your username and password, is emailed to you. Your username is always your email address. With your parent account, you can check your child’s enrollment status, edit your address, and view a list of the titles mailed each month.
    • Why is my child’s status listed as “pending”?
      • Registrations received online will be placed into a pending area until the program coordinator reviews the information. Once the registration is approved, the child becomes active in the program, and the parent will receive an email. The accounts of children who have recently moved are flagged and moved into a pending area until their address is updated. Please note that a child’s status may only remain in the pending area for up to 60 days before being permanently removed from the system. It is important to contact Wake County Imagination Library Coordinator, Denise Rossi at drossi@wakesmartstart.org if there is a change of address or to update it via your parent account.
    • How does Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library benefit children?
      • Inspiring the love of reading and learning early in a child’s life helps to develop strong literacy skills. Statistics and independent reports have shown Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library drastically improves early childhood literacy and enhances Kindergarten readiness for children enrolled in the program. Children read more when books are in the home!
    • How can I keep up-to-date about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Wake County?
      • When you enroll your child with a valid email address, you will automatically receive a Wake County Smart Start Imagination Library Newsletter email the third Tuesday of every month. This newsletter provides information about the Imagination Library in Wake County, fun literacy activities to do at home, other literacy resources in your community, and so much more. Be sure to whitelist or add Wake County Smart Start to your safe senders list to be sure you don’t miss one!

The mission of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is to foster a love of reading in children and ensure that every child has books, regardless of their family’s income. Funding for this initiative is provided statewide by the North Carolina General Assembly to support early literacy.

  • Family Resources

    Wake County Public Libraries | LINK

    Imagination Library Reading Tips | LINK

    Goodnight with Dolly Bedtime Stories | LINK

    WCSS’s Healthy Initiatives Read-a-long Videos | LINK

    Ready4K | LINK

    WAKE Up and Read | LINK

    Reading Rockets | LINK

    PBS Kids | LINK

    Read Aloud | LINK

    Wake County Family Resources | LINK



Kyle signed up his children Cooper and Isla for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library when their second child, Isla, was just two months old. This picture captures their first book’s arrival. We checked in with them to find out what they think of the program after several months.

“Pretty sweet!” Kyle said, in sharing the impact of the program. He said Cooper is excited whenever he gets a book. He loves having a package arrive with his name on it. He loves to read, and he now loves helping his baby sister read. Cooper, age 3, helps Isla, now one year old, “read” her books, guiding her to turn the book right-side up and showing her how to turn the pages. “He enjoys showing her how reading works. He has read some of them so many times he can ‘read’ them back to me.”

Kyle says that now reading is a part of their whole day. They share a story after breakfast, before naptime, and Kyle reads to the children before they go to bed at night. Cooper looks forward to books arriving each month, and the family reports an increase in reading overall.


Seeing that book in the mail with their name on it has put a smile on the faces of so many children. If you have a picture or video of your child receiving or reading one of their Imagination Library books, we’d love to see it! Please email your pictures or videos to Denise Rossi, Program Specialist, Early Literacy, to help spread the word about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library!



Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is funded and managed in Wake County by Wake County Smart Start. Denise Rossi is the program coordinator for the Imagination Library in Wake County and can be reached by email or by calling (919) 723-9272. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is part of WCSS’s Early Literacy Initiatives.

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Early Literacy Initiatives will promote parent engagement and parenting practices in Wake County by providing activities, education, and resource materials through two literacy programs: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Reach Out and Read.


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Crianza con Cariño

This 15-week family education program blends child-rearing information with social supports to strengthen Spanish-speaking families living in Wake County.


SecurePath is a comprehensive mental health service for young children in Wake County that is provided at the child’s home or preschool.

Parents as Teachers

Parents as Teachers (PAT) services are offered to children from birth to age 5 who need help preparing for success in school.

Nurse-Family Partnership

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Child Care Subsidy Program

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