Free books for kids in Fitchburg & Leominster!
Sign up your kids from 0-5 years for the Imagination Library
The Imagination Library Program was started in 1995 by Dolly Parton because she wanted every child birth to five years of age to have his or her own library of books. Dolly understood the importance of exposing children to reading at an early age, so she began sending booksmonth, free of charge, to kids in her county. Thanks to Reading First, which is powered by United Way of North Central Massachusetts, — is a coalition of businesses and organizations committed to providing resources that improve literacy in our community — brought the Imagination Library to the families of North Central Massachusetts in November 2012.
Free books monthly for Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner, Templeton and Winchendon children
Reading First present the first free-book program for children in Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner, Templeton and Winchendon (check back, we will be adding additional communities). A few details about the program:
- All children from birth to just under five years of age who live in Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner, Templeton and Winchendon are eligible to participate in the book program, at no cost to them, regardless of family income.
- Books will be sent out to participating children once a month until they reach five years of age. Each book is age appropriate. The collection of books includes such titles as The Little Engine That Could, The Poky Little Puppy, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Favorite Finger Rhymes, Little Cloud, The Owl and The Pussycat, and The Gingerbread Man.
Frequently asked questions:
What are the responsibilities of the parent/guardian?
In addition to residing in the area mentioned above, the responsibilities include submitting an official registration form and notifying United Way anytime there is a change of address. Change of address notification is important because the books are mailed to the address listed on the registration form and cannot be forwarded.
When will the child receive his/her books?
Books will begin arriving at the child's home about eight to ten weeks after the registration form has been received by United Way of North Central Massachusetts. The books will continue to be sent until the child turns five or moves out of the eligible geographical area. If a child does not receive the first book or misses a book one month, parents should first talk to their mail carrier about the issue and then call the United Way of North Central Massachusetts if more help is needed.
Are books available in Spanish?
The Dollywood Foundation selects the book titles each year, and bilingual books are included for everyone in the program based on the availability from their publisher. Most children will receive at least one bilingual book each year they are enrolled. However, even if a parent cannot read English, telling the story by looking at the pictures will increase the child’s vocabulary.
Sounds great, how do I sign up?
Register online here, or download the registration form and mail it to our office at 285 John Fitch Hwy, Fitchburg, MA 01420.
For further information call the United Way of North Central Massachusetts at 978-345-1577 or send us an email.
What are some other reading resources?
Reading to your children often encourages a love of reading and helps them enter kindergarten ready to succeed. Check out the below resources for more tips on how to engage your children with their free books!
- Born Learning, the United Way of America's early learning resource site.
- Thinkfinity, the Verizon Foundation's educational resources.
- NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children's tips.
- PBS, the PBS reading and writing tips site.
How can I help?
In addition to our sponsors, listed below, the program is funded in part by donations. If you'd like to sponsor a child for a year, donate $30 today!
To sponsor a child, click here .
Thank you to our sponsors and partners
We would like to thank the
following companies for their support of our newest pre-school literacy
program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination
Library. These companies have gone
above and beyond their annual United Way corporate giving to make sure that any family with
children ages birth to five years old in has the opportunity to receive a free
hard cover, age appropriate book to
their home each month until their fifth birthday.
From the 500+ youngsters (and
growing) who have already been signed up, thank you for our books!