United Way Of The Southern Tier Announces Milestone For Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Logo for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library featuring a drawing of a train and a book

Oct. 23, 2019:

CORNING – United Way of the Southern Tier has enrolled its 3,000th local child in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – that’s more than 25 percent of all children under the age of 5 in Chemung and Steuben counties.

United Way of the Southern Tier became an affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in spring 2018 as part of its Southern Tier Kids on Track priority area, which includes a focus on school readiness. Through the program, any child under the age of 5 who lives in Chemung or Steuben county can be registered to receive a free book by mail each month. 

“Not only does Imagination Library help develop a child’s excitement around books and reading, it also encourages and supports parental involvement in their child’s learning,” said Barbara Hubbell, senior director of strategic initiatives for United Way of the Southern Tier. 

Hubbell noted that many of the books a child receives include tips for the parents on getting the most out of the experience, such as how to start the story, reading the book together and talking about it afterward.  “Regardless of the words, the experience of sitting together, turning the pages and discussing the pictures is important for the child’s development.”

Registration for United Way of the Southern Tier’s chapter of the Imagination Library is done online at (paper applications are also available). Six to nine weeks after the application is received and processed, the first book – “The Little Engine That Could” – is mailed. Developmentally-appropriate books are mailed once a month after that, every month, until the month before the child turns 5. 

Books included in the program in 2019 include old favorites such as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”  and new classics including “Llama Llama Red Pajama” and “The Gruffalo.”  The final book a child receives is “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come.” 

Donations to United Way of the Southern Tier pay for the program for area children. A gift of $30 will provide 12 books to a child for one year. The program is free to families.  Donations to this program can be made at

To learn more about the program, visit or call (607) 936-3753.