Frequently Asked Questions

Is my child eligible for the program?

If your child is under the age of five and lives in St. Joseph County, he or she is eligible to participate in the Imagination Library Program. The program is free to children and their families, with no strings attached.

How do I register my child?

You can register online here or use a paper form, which you can download here and mail to the Community Foundation. You can also register in person at ANY county library!

Why is the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County making this program available in our county?

For many years, the Community Foundation has been doing extensive initiative work in early childhood education. Because we know that children who start out behind are likely to stay behind, we work hard to try to create opportunities for ALL of our community’s children to excel. We provide High Scope training for teachers at preschools, daycares, and Head Start, and we support elementary school teachers through the Responsive Classroom program. We believe that the Imagination Library program is another wonderful way to help children reach their full potential through encouraging reading with parents, guardians, and friends. We are thrilled to be able to bring it to our county!

How long will it take for my child to receive her first book?

Book orders are placed on the first day of the month AFTER your completed registration form is entered into the database and approved. Once the order is placed, your first book will arrive within 7-9 weeks. For example: If we receive your registration and enter into the database on June 15, you’ll be included in the July 1 book order. Your book will arrive by the last week of August. After that, the books will arrive approximately every 30 days, unless your address changes or your child ages out of the program.

When I received my “Congratulations” email confirming my child’s registration, I noticed that I can create an account with the Imagination Library. What does this do?

You don’t have to create an account for your child to receive his books, but it has some benefits. Through an Imagination Library account, you can manage your child’s participation in the program online. You’ll be able to make address updates and see when books were mailed, as well as which titles. If you have multiple children enrolled in the program, you can manage them all through a single account.

How are the books chosen? Do you have examples of titles?

A national committee chooses the titles that make up the Dolly Parton Library selections for that year. New titles are introduced each year, which means that younger siblings will not receive the exact same books as their older siblings. You can take a look at the 2021 titles here.

We are moving to a new address within St. Joseph County. What do we need to do to continue to receive books?

You’ll need to let us know your new address: Call (574) 232-0041 or email us. (Or, if you chose to create an online Imagination Library account when you registered for the program, you can update your address online.) Please also be sure to let the United States Post Office know that you’ve moved by completing USPS Change of Address Form 3575, which you can find at

We are moving to a new address outside of St. Joseph County. Can we still receive books?

You won’t be able to receive books through THIS program, but many other communities also offer the Imagination Library. You can check this online through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library website. If the program is offered in the community you’re moving to, we can transfer your registration so that your child won’t miss a book.

I have three children of different ages who are registered for the Imagination Library. All three of them just received their first book—The Little Engine That Could. I thought that children of different ages receive different books. Is this a mistake?

All children receive The Little Engine That Could as their first official “welcome” book. After that first book, children of different ages will receive books that are specially selected for their age.

My child is registered and had been receiving books, but now the books have stopped arriving. What happened?

If your child has been receiving books and the books have stopped coming for no apparent reason, or if the book for a particular month did not arrive, consider the list of possibilities below. If you can’t find a solution here, call us at 574-232-0041 or email us.

  • Did your family move? If so, you’ll need to let us know your new address: Call 574-232-0041 or email us. Please also be sure to let the United States Post Office know that you’ve moved by completing USPS Change of Address Form 3575, which you can find at This form should be completed if you are adding a newborn to your address, if a child with the same or different last name moves to your address, if you are a foster parent of a child living at your address, if there is a change in a child’s last name due to adoption or a parental name change, or if a new home is being built at a new address.
  • If you have a P.O. Box, is your child listed to be on it?
  • Have you spoken with your postal carrier about the missing book? Is there a new postal carrier on your route?
  • Does your family live in an apartment where the books are too large to fit in the mail slots? If so, have you received a USPS notice in your mail box to pick the book up from your local post office?
  • Did your child turn five? His last Imagination Library book will be  delivered in the month of his fifth birthday.

One of my children got a book, but the other didn’t. What happened?

Books may arrive at different times of the month. After each child has received the first book, subsequent books should arrive by the last day of the month—but not necessarily on the same day.

I thought I signed up, but my child never received a book.

After your registration is processed, it can take 7–9 weeks for your first book to arrive. But after the first book is delivered, the books will arrive monthly unless your address changes or your child ages out of the program. Have you received a “Congratulations” email, confirming your Imagination Library registration?  If not, there may have been an issue with your registration. Call us at 574-232-0041 so we can help, or email us.

My partner and I share custody of our child. Can she receive her Imagination Library books at both of our addresses?

You must identify one address at which your child will receive her Imagination Library books.

I have twins. Will they each receive their own book?

If you have twins (or other multiples), you will receive one book addressed to both children.

Do you have books in Spanish or other languages?

Since all children in a particular birth month receive the same book, we are not able to offer specific titles to certain children. However, the Library will sometimes include books with English and Spanish texts.

I live outside of St. Joseph County. Can my child still receive books?

To receive books through this program, your child must live in St. Joseph County. However, it’s possible that the program may become available in your community in the future. At the Dolly Parton Foundation website, you can sign up to be notified by email if that occurs.

Who pays for these books?

There is NO COST to the children and families who receive books through the Imagination Library. The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County has built a coalition of key donors who are supporting this program in our county.

Will my child’s information be shared with advertisers?

No. You and your child’s information will never be shared with advertisers. Both the Community Foundation and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library take information security very seriously. We will not share it or use it for any purpose other than to communicate with you about the Imagination Library.

I love this program! Can I make a donation to help support it?

Absolutely. Donations to support this program can be sent to Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, P.O. Box 837, South Bend IN 46624. You can also donate online.

P.O. Box 837, South Bend, IN 46624 | 305 S. Michigan St., South Bend, IN 46601 | Phone: (574) 232-0041 | Fax: (574) 233-1906

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