Dolly Parton's Imagination Library has promoted reading in Watertown area for 20 years

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is celebrating 20 years in Watertown.

The free book program is intended for preschool children ages birth to 5 and was started by Parton, who was inspired by her father’s inability to read or write.

The Watertown Area United Way partners with the Imagination Library to ensure local youth can have a great selection of books at home and in their local library’s selection.

The United Way and Watertown Regional Library have provided area children with Imagination Library books for two decades now. Annually, the program costs about $20,000. Women and Giving, =Watertown Area Community Foundation, Dollar General’s Literacy Foundation and United Way donations help raise the necessary money, but contributions are also accepted from the public.

A $130 donation can sponsor a child for the entirety of the program. Donations can be sent to the United Way at P.O. Box 283, Watertown, SD 57201 or made online at

Youth in Codington County or those who have a parent or guardian working in Codington County are eligible for enrollment. There are no income limits or restrictions on the number of children per household who can participate. To register, call 605-886-5815 or visit

Two books annually are bilingual, and audio/braille copies are available for families with anyone who is audibly or visually impaired. For more information visit

This article originally appeared on Watertown Public Opinion: Watertown Area United Way celebrates 20 years with Imagination Library