New grant donation helps continue giving kids free monthly books in SNCO

Published: Jul. 10, 2019 at 6:39 PM CDT
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Country music star Dolly Parton is helping area children develop a love of reading.

A new grant for Parton’s charity non-profit will continue a program that puts a free book in the hands of Shawnee County children each month, from birth until their 5th birthday.

The Kansas Health Foundation is giving the United Way, and Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library $228,000 over three years to support Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

The program costs around $30 per child.

Last year, the Imagination Library had enrolled 44 percent of the more than 11,000 children under five-year-olds living in Shawnee County.

There are no income requirements to take part in the program, and no family ever has to pay to receive books.

"We would love for every child in Shawnee County under the age of five to sign up so they can receive that free book once a month, it comes to the door in the child’s name and it would be a wonderful opportunity to continue to do that for many years," United Way of Greater Topeka CEO Jessica Lehnherr said.

To sign up for the program you can go to and typing in Imagination Library.

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