Biddeford Ready!, a program of United Way of Southern Maine (UWSM), has partnered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to provide high-quality books to Biddeford families with children under 5. Parents and guardians with a Biddeford zip code can sign up for the program online and receive books every month, delivered directly to their homes, at no cost and regardless of income.

The partnership with Imagination Library supports Biddeford Ready!’s mission of helping Biddeford’s youngest residents get the resources they need to enter kindergarten prepared to thrive in school and beyond. In 2021, there were an estimated 933 children under age 5 in Biddeford.

Biddeford Ready! receives organizational support from UWSM. “We hope that Imagination Library sparks a love of reading and learning for Biddeford’s youngest citizens that stays with them for the rest of their lives,” said Rebecca Alfredson, UWSM’s director, education. “Ninety percent of brain development occurs before age 5, which makes the time before kindergarten critical for future success.”

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was launched in 1995 by The Dollywood Foundation, providing free books to children in Parton’s home area of Sevier County, Tennessee. The goal of the program is to inspire a love of books and reading among children. The first book is always “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper.

Children must be registered in the Imagination Library by a parent or guardian in order to receive the books. There is no charge to register or receive the books. Parents and guardians with a Biddeford zip code can sign up by visiting