My First Bookshelf, offered in partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, delivers a free book every month to children from birth to age five.

More than 65,710 books have been delivered to local children.

Your gift of $6.90 per month can help us reach even more children.

Book ownership is powerful. How many books do you have in your home? Research shows that having even 20 books at home can foster a lifelong love of reading. But sadly, many children in our community are growing up without any books on their shelves. The pandemic has exposed and widened this inequity. Will you help us support even more children in this program?



“In my culture, we don't read so it's a really nice change for the kids to be getting books each month. We usually buy toys instead of books but the kids are really loving it. We appreciate you letting us be a part of the program!”

"It has become a monthly tradition in our house. Every new book day we come home, get a snack, sit on the floor and read our new book. She loves them. The books are such great quality and I certainly believe that reading to her every day has been incredibly beneficial to her talking now. She has a great vocabulary for 13 months!"

“A lot of the families I work with don’t know about community resources and many of them experience language barriers when they come to Calgary. This program is great, and the kids really love it.”

Frequently Asked Questions

My First Bookshelf is a free program that delivers (by postal mail to a child’s home) an age-appropriate, personalized book once a month from birth to age five. That’s 60 books for a child’s bookshelf by their fifth birthday! For more information, or to register, visit

Calgary Public Library wants to help every child begin a reading journey, and owning a book is a special first step in building a lifelong relationship with the Library and its many resources. Children often face barriers to Library access for any number of reasons, but early years are vital to literacy development. Calgary Public Library, in partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, is uniquely positioned to reach these children and inspire a love of reading. This experience, and corresponding Library programming, will strengthen early literacy and the connection to the Library for the whole family.

Having access to books in the home has been shown to increase a child’s academic success, vocabulary development, and attention. Increased access to books encourages greater literacy levels in children, which means they’re more likely to become lifelong readers and learners. In partnership with the Imagination Library, Calgary Public Library hopes to support families during their child’s earliest years in building their very own home libraries. The more books children have access to, the better!

Since 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has delivered more than 90 million books to children in more than 2,000 communities worldwide. Through the partnership, the Imagination Library manages the system to deliver the books, procures high-quality books from publishers at a reduced cost through special print runs, personalizes the books with the child’s name, and facilitates all packaging, shipping, and handling. This allows the Library to focus on building relationships with families in the community.

The Calgary Public Library Foundation has an ambitious goal of expanding the program to bring a love of reading into the homes of children across Calgary. There are nearly 90,000 children under the age of five in Calgary. Together, we are removing the barriers that children in our community face to literacy and development.

This valuable program is completely donor funded. We hope to eventually expand this program across Calgary, and need your support to make this happen. Donate now to help us put books on a child’s very first bookshelf.

In partnership with:

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library logo

My First Bookshelf is made possible thanks to:

Chapter Sponsors: Canada Life; Leah and Ernie Hagel; Hunter Family Foundation; Barbara Killick; the McNamara Family; MEG Energy; the Moffit Charitable Foundation; Lorraine and Peter Moore; Sticks & Strings Foundation; UTILITYNET and Sandstone Energy.

Supporters and Partners: The Dollywood Foundation of Canada; donors of the Calgary Public Library Foundation.