Books from Birth is a transformational collaboration between Munson Medical Center Traverse City, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Grand Traverse Region and Born to Read, a signature program of the Traverse Bay Sunrise Rotary Club.


Through the Books from Birth Campaign, every newborn at Munson Medical Center who lives in the Grand Traverse 5-county region is now offered a “community gift” of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program that is always at no cost to families.

We are elated to have the Books from Birth program fully funded through the end of 2024. But we know the babies will keep coming. Our challenge now is to secure sustainable funding from individuals and businesses that will carry us into the future.

For the first time, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is now available to every child from birth to age 5 in our five-county region. An enrollment drive is currently underway to make sure every parent is aware of this community gift for raising readers.

View the Books from Birth 2023 Campaign Report.

*One book per month until the child’s 5th birthday

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To educate parents on the difference only they can make in their baby's brain development and language skills. They are their child's first and most important teacher. The more talking and reading aloud a child receives, the greater their chances of becoming an early, proficient reader and developing a love of learning.


We want to change the disheartening trends threatening our children's success and our community's future. In our 5-county region, there is a tremendous need to address the serious problems related to poverty, school readiness and 3rd grade reading levels:

• 60% of births at Munson are Medicaid funded.
• 56% of children are not kindergarten ready.
• 52% of children are not reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.

A child learns to read until 3rd grade; after 3rd grade, they read to learn.


Working together, volunteers from Sunrise Rotary’s Born to Read and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library GTR and Benzie are working together with staff at Munson Medical Center, local libraries, and other community partners to build a system for early literacy in our 5-county region.

The research is clear. There are three critical ingredients to ensure children are ready for kindergarten and are successful in school:
1. Start Early: birth to 3 years old when brain development is at its peak
2. Parents and caregivers talk, sing, and read to their children every day
3. Fill the home with books, age-appropriate, the more the better.

We’re spreading the word to parents and caregivers about the critical importance of talking, singing, and reading to young children right from the start. Through this multi-step system, we hope to reach every new parent with our message.

Before Birth – Prenatal Clinics and Midwives

Distribute a Welcome Baby gif to expectant parents. The reusable bag includes a book for baby plus “We’re Here to Help” community gifs and information with QR codes directing to story tmes, play groups, health care, nutriton, child care, and more.

At Birth – Munson Medical Center

Born to Read book placed in newborn’s crib along with information about Dolly Parton’s Imaginaton Library (DPIL). Birth registrar invites parent to enroll baby in DPIL at no cost to family. Family and friends learn the importance of reading and playing with baby at a new information center in the maternity waiting room.

After Birth – Pediatric Clinics

Pediatricians and staff encourage parents to read to baby, and invite enrollment in DPIL. Books and literacy materials in the waiting room.

At Home – 5 years of books!

A new, age-appropriate book is home delivered to the child every month until their 5th birthday. Parents are reminded and encouraged to read to the child every month. A total of 60 books at no cost to the family!


About Born To Read

Born To Read, the initial supporter and founding partner in the Books from Birth initiative, is an all-volunteer effort of the Rotary Club of Traverse Bay Sunrise. Born to Read spreads the word about the importance of singing, talking and reading with children every day from birth on. “We want every parent to hear our message as early and as often as possible, from prenatal clinics to delivery at Munson and afterwards”, says Sharon Workman from Born to Read. “By working with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the birth registrars and maternity nursing staff at Munson Medical Center, we can now provide books to our babies right from the beginning, and continue until they go to kindergarten!”


About Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation has gifted well over 227 million free books in the United States and abroad. This is accomplished with the help of local community partners. The Imagination Library mails more than 2.8 million high-quality, age-appropriate books each month to registered children. Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading and inspiring children to “Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More.” The impact of the program has been widely researched and results show positive increases in key early childhood literacy metrics.


Phone & Email

Phone: 231.409.2665