Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

2023 Year in Review!

In March of 2024, the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in Chaffee County will celebrate 9 years supporting our local young children.  This outstanding program mails a free age-appropriate book to every registered child each month.  All children in Chaffee County are eligible from birth until they turn 5 years old.  The program began with a partnership between the Salida Sunrise Rotary and Buena Vista Rotary Clubs, and it is now sponsored by Salida Sunrise Rotary.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library promotes and encourages a love of reading among children and helps ensure that children enter kindergarten with a strong ability to read and an eagerness to learn.  It also promotes parent-child interaction and bonding.  If a child is registered at birth and remains in the program until he or she turns five, the child will accumulate 60 high quality books.
This program has been very successful in our community.  Since our launch in March of 2015, and as of December 31, 2023, over 52,225 books have been mailed to over 1,820 children.  In addition, over 960 children have turned five and graduated from the program.
In 2023 alone, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in Chaffee County put over 6,865 quality, age-appropriate books into the hands of 734 registered children. There were 171 new registrations during 2023 (of which 92 were new births), and 124 children turned five and graduated from the program. At the end of 2023, we had 576 registered children, a number higher than at the beginning of the year.
In 2023, we were thrilled to once again hold our usual registration event at the Chaffee Home and Garden Show as well as to meet with a few local preschools.
We continued to see outstanding support from the community with a great response to our year-end fundraising efforts. For the fourth year, contributors could submit donations through Colorado Gives as well as through the mail. We were also successful in our pursuit of additional grant dollars. In 2023 this program received a Chaffee County Marijuana Excise Tax grant, participated in an HHSB Family Fund grant, benefited from a state mini-grant, and received another generous contribution from the Salida Regional Library. Our great partnerships with the Salida Regional Library, Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center’s Family Birthing Center, and the Salida Early Childhood Center remain very strong.
The state’s Imagination Library of Colorado program was again in full swing in 2023 and provided great support to local affiliates.  This state program covers half of the Colorado affiliates’ book costs each month and helps identify grant opportunities.
We continue to hear wonderful feedback from the children and families.  The comments shared by the registered children themselves, as well by as their families, confirm the positive impact of these free books being mailed directly to the children.
Through this wonderful program, you and our other generous contributors are offering the young children in Chaffee County a foundation for literary skills that will set them up for success in the future.  Rotarians and our generous and supportive community can be very proud of this program and what it is accomplishing!
For more information, please reach out to us at