Our Mission

Making books a Berkeley birthright.

We believe every child should own an excellent personal library before Kindergarten.

Our affiliation with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library allows us to offer their program delivering a new, age-appropriate book every month to any child under age 5 living in Berkeley, California.    

                                                                           Books are a gift to the child.

Imagination Library books are intentionally chosen to reflect a rich diversity of people, their roles, and environments. The Selection Team reviews and updates titles annually. 

You could buy the same books yourself, but you cannot buy the excitement and pleasure a child experiences when their book with their name on the label arrives  -- nor can you buy the research, time, and care the IL Selection Team puts in to the title list.

There is no cost to register your child for the program, but that's not the best reason to do so: it's the quality of the collection; it's the recurring excitement of "my book" arriving in the mail -- and, arriving with it, motivation (if not outright demand!) to read it, have it read aloud.   


We love Imagination Library because the books are excellent and because it's so much fun. Of course, there's plenty of research to show that the pretense of books in a preschooler's home is the single strongest indicator of later literacy and academic success, and we fully appreciate that. But what warms our hearts and gets us into the office are stories and comments from parents about the excitement their children get when books arrive, addressed to the child. We are joyfully confident that the motivation to read my book now, and repeatedly, will show up in test scores years down the road, and that's important. What keeps us working to make books a Berkeley birthright is the vision of the monthly joy of the gift in the mail, and the desire to expand the program across the East Bay in the future. 


Our Story

Research from around the world shows that early literacy maps directly to a child's cognitive development, academic success and even their life expectancy. Improving literacy doesn't have to be complex. The first step is getting books into children's hands. All children. That's why we've affiliated with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to help the children of Berkeley build excellent personal libraries before Kindergarten.

Continue Reading →


Our Programs

Monthly Book Subscription

Imagination Library

Starting as early as birth, children receive one carefully selected book every month, no strings attached. Available to any child under age 5 living in Berkeley, CA.

Family Engagement

Baby Book Club

Meet and play with other book-loving children from Berkeley. Enjoy a wide variety of hands-on activities, story reading, and snacks.


Targeted small Programs

* "Welcome Baby" book bags: For two small programs serving expectant mothers we supply tote bags containing books for infants, including I Love You Like Sunshine , to distribute. HATCH Doulas in Oakland serve very young women emerging from difficult circumstances. Berkeley's Black Infant Health program serves expectant mothers in Berkeley and surrounding communities. Both these programs include the importance of nurturing literacy from the start; we supply new parents in their programs the tools to do so, from the start. 

*Demographically Targeted Books: We purchase books outside of Imagination Library that feature children/families of color and/or are bilingual (Spanish, mostly) for our "Welcome Baby" bags, for events we table at with partners such as Healthy Black Families and Black Infant Health, and to offer -- donation suggested! - at Baby Book Club. Our intention is to make books available to children who are woefully under represented in the children's book publishing world: over 70% of new children's books feature only or nearly only white children/families (when characters are human). It is a powerful thing to see oneself reflected on the pages of a book you hold; we want this experience to be part of every child's life, from the start.  

“Both of my kids get so excited when we check the mail for their special books. My daughter lights up when she flips the book over and sees her name on the label!”

— 2017 imagination library parent survey response


Our Impact

Early literacy is empowering. It's tempting to try and sign up as many children as we can, as quickly as possible. But we plan to help Berkeley's children amass great personal libraries for generations to come. In order to do that, we have to start small, and expand with success. The community response has been outstandingly positive, and we're excited for the road ahead.

Here's what we've accomplished so far, in numbers:



Personal Libraries Created

Since the creation of The BBBP, over 100 children have already aged out of the Imagination Library program.




Currently receiving monthly books

Our numbers are growing steadily by word of mouth, and our goal is to serve the entire community.




Books Delivered

In affiliation with Imagination Library, we've delivered thousands of books since our start in June 2015.


Get Involved

There are plenty of ways to help get books in the hands of Berkeley's children. If you're a parent, register your child for Imagination Library or join us for a Baby Book Club. If you've got skills you're willing to lend, volunteer with us. If you'd like to support our mission, make a donation or see how else you can help us grow.


register your child for Imagination Library

One hand-selected book, delivered to any child age 0–4 living in Berkeley. All you have to do is sign up. We take care of the rest.

Sign up for the baby book club

Meet and engage with other book-loving parents and children from Berkeley. Enjoy complementary refreshments and hands-on activities led by our team of volunteers.


Help us improve The BBBP by providing much-needed assistance with book mailing, Baby Book Club activities, event photography and more.