The Mesa County Imagination Library is a free book program that provides children under the age of five, living in Mesa County, the opportunity to register to receive a brand new, age specific book every single month until their 5th Birthday. The books are mailed straight to the child at no cost to the family.

We know that the simple gift of books change the life of a child, and literacy can change the trajectory of a family. 

In partnership with Imagination Library of Colorado, MCIL: 

  • Raises money to fund this program locally
  • Registers local children to receive monthly books at no cost to their family
  • Purchases the books through our partnership with Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which mails books to registered children

ALL children ages 4 and under, with mailing addresses inside of Mesa County are encouraged to register.


In 2021, United Way of Mesa County received word that Grand Junction Imagination Library would end operations by the end of 2022 and was approached by the Colorado Imagination Library about the possibility of folding both the Grand Junction Imagination Library and Lower Valley Imagination Library into one Mesa County Imagination Library. The United Way of Mesa County Board of Directors approved the merger in June 2022.

The goal of United Way of Mesa County and Mesa County Imagination Library will be to expand the program to all corners of Mesa County, helping ensure that every eligible child in our community has access to free, high quality books. We are incredibly grateful for the hard work and dedication of all those who worked tirelessly to make the Grand Junction Imagination Library and the Lower Valley Imagination Library so successful in our communities.


In Colorado, 60% of children aren’t reading at grade level. At United Way of Mesa County, we believe we can change this. By providing access to quality, age-appropriate books, Mesa County Imagination Library creates a love of reading and excitement for books while improving childhood literacy. Studies show that books in the home is the number one indicator of a child’s success in school. 

A study by Kids Count in Colorado from 2020 shows that only 41.9% of 4th grade students in Mesa County “met or exceeded expectations on CMAS English/Language Arts” and the National Adult Literacy Survey found that children without basic literacy skills before starting school are 3-4 times more likely to drop out before completing high school. Surveys conducted by Grand Junction Imagination Library showed 99% of parents said their child’s literacy is being positively impacted by the Imagination Library program and 75% of parents said they were reading together more with their child since enrolling in the program. Clearly, childhood literacy is a major issue facing Mesa County and evidence has shown that the Imagination Library program delivers results.

​While the gift of a book is simple, the studies and research behind the Imagination Library is strong and measurable: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library increases kindergarten readiness, home literacy practices, and literacy assessment scores.