South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Free book program is for city preschoolers


Last updated 5/1/2019 at 8:50pm

A new program offering free monthly books to Pittsburgh children from birth to age 5 is now taking applications from parents and guardians. 

The free book program – in conjunction with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, the Benter Foundation and the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania – will mail all eligible children an age-appropriate book every month until their 5th birthday. Mailings will begin in 8-10 weeks. 

Those interested may visit and have a registration form issued via mail. Online registrations will be available soon from the Imagination Library. 

“Providing greater access to books is a meaningful first step towards ensuring that parents and their children throughout the city have an opportunity to read consistently and reap the many benefits of early literacy,” Mayor William Peduto said. 

Since its inception in 1995 the program from the country music superstar has mailed more than 113 million books, for free, to children in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. The full program provides a 60-volume set of books, beginning with the classic “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper. 

To be eligible for the program preschoolers must: 

• Be a resident of the City of Pittsburgh 

• Have a parent or guardian fill out an official registration form 

• Notify the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania of any address changes 

Legislation was introduced to Pittsburgh City Council in February to accept $250,000 from the Benter Foundation to establish the Pittsburgh program. The United Way is the required 501c3 mailing partner for the initiative. 


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