Ready. Set. READ!

Ready. Set. READ! is an EPL program in partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting FREE books to children from birth to age five. Studies have shown that children growing up in homes with books get three years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education or occupation. If you have limited children’s books in your home, apply for your child to receive a new book every month until age five. Books are delivered straight to your home and are yours to keep forever.

Looking to donate? Support Ready. Set. READ! here.

Free Books (To Keep!) For Your Child

A child learns to love books and build reading skills at home starting from birth.

The Edmonton Public Library can help.

How Ready. Set. READ! Works

Eligible children will receive one new book every month until age five. Each book is age-appropriate and selected by experts to meet your child’s developmental needs. The books are mailed to your family’s house and are yours to keep forever.

Having books in the home makes it easier to make reading an everyday part of your child's routine. Learn more about why reading with children is important.

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How To Apply

Space is limited. Please review the following information carefully before applying.

Eligibility Criteria

If your residence is located within one of the following Edmonton Public Library branch boundaries and your child is under the age of five, you qualify for the program. To map of qualifying areas below.

  • Abbotsfield – Penny McKee
  • Calder
  • Castle Downs
  • Clareview
  • Highlands
  • Jasper Place
  • Londonderry
  • McConachie
  • Sprucewood
  • Stanley A. Milner
  • Woodcroft

Here is a map of eligible neighbourhoods (click to enlarge):

Children must be under five years old when applying. Multiple children (under five) from the same family can apply.

Two Ways to Apply

Eligible families can apply online or complete a paper form available for pick up at any of our 21 library locations. Return completed forms to any EPL branch.

You will be notified by email if your application is successful. If you have any questions about the application process, please call us at (780) 442-5329.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions: Ready. Set. READ!

  • Yes! All books are free until your child turns five, when they graduate and stop receiving books. Books are mailed directly to your house and are yours to keep forever.
  • Children must be under five when you apply to be eligible.

    If your child turns five the month after you apply, they will not receive any books since they will have hit the cut-off age of five years old before the first book is mailed out. If your child turns five the second month after you apply, they will receive the welcome book, then graduate out of the program and stop receiving books.

    Here are a few examples:

    • You apply on March 3 and your child turns five on April 10. Your child would not receive any books.
    • You apply on March 3 and your child turns five on May 21. Your child would receive the first book only, then graduate and stop receiving books.
  • No, since your child will turn five before the first book is mailed out (7-10 weeks after your application is submitted).

  • No, for privacy reasons we can't maintain a waitlist for Ready. Set. READ!

    If the program is full or you live outside the current service area, please check back and reapply at a later date.

  • No, a library card is not required to apply to the program. However, EPL cards are FREE and let you borrow thousands of print and digital materials including books, movies, video games and more. To sign up online, visit epl.ca/FreeCard.

  • If you apply online, you will be notified by email when your child’s application is approved or entered into our system. If you submit a paper form, you will receive a response by mail. Questions about the application process can be directed to RSRead@epl.ca.

  • If your child's application is approved, it generally takes 7-10 weeks from the time you apply until the first book arrives at your door.

    Here are a few examples:

    • You sign up on March 2. Books for children signed up in March will be mailed out in May.
    • You sign up on May 29. Books for children signed up in May will be mailed out in July.
  • The list of titles for 2022 is available here. Please note that book titles are subject to change based on supply chain issues.

Why Read To Your Child

Our goal with Ready. Set. READ! is to help you make reading part of your child’s everyday routine.

You are your child’s first (and best!) teacher. Reading with your child is the best way for them to learn the skills they need to become a good reader.

With strong language and reading skills, your child is more likely to:

  • Go further in school
  • Have a higher income
  • Be happier and healthier throughout life

Becoming a good reader starts at home.

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EPL and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

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Ready. Set. READ! is delivered in partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.

The Imagination Library is a free book gifting program devoted to inspiring a love of reading in the hearts of children everywhere. Operating since 1995, it currently distributes more than one million books each month to children around the world.

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