Essential knowledge to grow on.

Get 60 Books for Your Child At No Cost To You

Studies show that children with as few as 25 books in their home complete an average of two more years of schooling than those without books. Research also finds that in middle income neighborhoods, the book-to-child ratio is 13-to-1, compared with 1-to-300 in low-income neighborhoods. Help place books into the hands of more Tennessee children. Donate to or volunteer with Tennessee’s Imagination Library program in your community. Our communities are strongest when they unite to promote early literacy.

When you read with children at a young age, it builds the pool of words they use and gets them ready to do well in school. It also builds their love for reading early in life.

Through Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF), all preschool children in Tennessee have the opportunity to enroll in Tennessee’s Imagination Library and receive one book each month in the mail from birth to age 5, at no cost to families. In 13 years, GBBF has mailed over 30 million books to Tennessee children. See what kids have to say about the program.

The Statewide Partnership Today

The core mission of GBBF is to put Tennessee children (from birth to age 5) on an early path to reading and writing. The Foundation was created in 2004 to support the Imagination Library programs in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties. The Foundation funds 50 percent of the costs of books and mailing each month. It also helps with fundraising, training of volunteers, and public relations. The goal for GBBF and the county volunteer leaders is a Tennessee where all preschool children have books in their homes, develop a love of reading and learning, and begin school ready to do well. To learn more about this special partnership, watch this video celebrating the foundation’s 10-Year Anniversary.

Thanks to Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library:

  • More than 30 million books have been delivered to Tennessee children since October 2004.
  • All of the state’s 407,813 children under age 5 have access to the Imagination Library at no cost to their families.
  • Over 68.4 percent of Tennessee children under the age of 5 are currently receiving one book each month at their home.
  • Over 566,000 5-year-olds have “graduated" from Tennessee’s Imagination Library since 2004.

Imagination Library Week

GBBF will hold its second annual statewide #GotCaughtReading Social Media Challenge during Tennessee’s Imagination Library Week Sept. 17-23. Through the Challenge, GBBF invites all Tennesseans to post on social media each day of Imagination Library Week. That will help more people become aware of the joys of reading with children.

The #GotCaughtReading Challenge has a different theme each day of Imagination Library Week. This will give Tennesseans different ways to celebrate on social media.

Read With Your Child

Reading with a child in a fun, energetic way raises a child’s IQ by 6 points. When families get involved in Imagination Library, it has been shown to increase the amount of one-on-one reading time and connection between children and adults.

In Imagination Library, parents are invited to read with the child, instead of to the child. When families have reading routines, it helps to create a more stable home atmosphere and to increase the emotional well-being for families facing difficulties. Challenges include poverty and the stress families face when parents work long hours and have limited support raising children.

GBBF provides helpful reading tools and activities for parents and caregivers. The materials work hand in hand with the books children receive and are available for downloading.

Get more tips on reading with babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

Learn more about the pluses of reading to your child.

Get information on eBooks for children.

Watch the 4E’s for Excellent Reading video for tips that will help build your child’s love for reading:

How to Register Your Child

To learn more about Tennessee’s Imagination Library and how to register your child for free books, look for Imagination Library brochures at your local public library, health department, pediatrician’s office or childcare center.

You can also register a child online by visiting the Governor’s Foundation, or by calling toll-free at 877-99-BOOKS.

Visit the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation to locate the Imagination Library program in your county.