A Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Local Champion


About Us

Techless and books aplenty 


TOT4TOT was created after I was contacted by parents, educators and librarians throughout the State of New Jersey asking me to start a chapter of First Library® (, the free book program I founded, after my interview about First Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library ( appeared on the cover and inside about half of the issues of a New Jersey magazine, My Life Publications.

They liked my mission of daily reading and monthly library visits for preschoolers (many in need) and wanted me to expand the program into their community.

I wanted to expand the program throughout the State of New Jersey but I didn’t have the staff or resources to do so.

I had recently read an article by the Journal of the American Medical Association  (their Pediatric edition) espousing the superiority of paper books over tablets.

 And I remembered hearing a report by the nonprofit organization Common Sense Media about how young children were spending over two hours a day on mobile screens (tablets, cell phones, etc.).

I began thinking there must be a way to combat the overuse of mobile screens by young children and help bring books into the homes of children, many in need, in these communities.

As a young mother I curbed the overuse of technology for my four children by turning it off for two hours a day.

Being the parent of four children with a fourteen year age span, I knew the importance of early reading on a consistent basis.

Reading and book ownership was a top priority in my children’s lives through my words and actions.

Whether it was reading to them daily, scheduling independent reading time, taking weekly excursions to the local library or making trips to book stores; reading was a major part of my children's lives growing up. But I still needed to make sure there was time for it.

By setting aside two hours a day, starting originally once a week on a weekday, like Tuesday, I knew there would be time for books and more.

My children could play, read or do homework, anything, but NO VIDEO GAMES, TELEVISION, COMPUTERS, ETC.

Today, they are voracious readers with extensive home libraries because of the actions and activities I implemented when they were young.

I thought if parents could pledge funds to Turn Off Tech 4 Two hours On Tuesdays, like I did for my family, they could not only help give books to area children, but help their children form good healthy habits AND develop a lifetime love of reading.

I shared my idea with my family and friends.

They began holding fundraisers to bring the First Library program to their community through my “turn off tech 4 two hours” platform. 


Others wanted to volunteer their time to fundraise and open a new chapters of program in their town.

They had vast knowledge of the local community, businesses, and schools but couldn’t commit because they needed a source of income.

At the same time I had a idea to expand upon the original idea to include fundraising for schools and other educational institutions.

I created TOT4TOT to solve both problems.

TOT4TOT gives schools and small nonprofits with limited staff the opportunity to fundraise while allowing “volunteers” to work for a cause they feel passionately about.

We enable other schools and other educational nonprofits to fulfill their mission without incurring the additional employee costs AND we offer employment  opportunities to local community members.


I founded First Library to give my love of reading to children, one book at a time.

First Library (, the first and largest affiliate of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library ( in New Jersey, promotes early childhood literacy, book ownership and library patronage.

Our vision, at First Library, is to not only give every child a foundation for a lifetime love of reading and library patronage, but to actively engage their parents in the process.

Children, newborn to age five, receive one free book monthly regardless of their gender, race or family income.

Their parents are asked to read to them daily and are required to visit their local library monthly.


First Library has grown and now offers two similar but unique programs, First Library and More First Library, that are tailored by effort and need.

First Library®, the largest affiliate of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library in New Jersey, gives a new book monthly. Parents are asked to read to their child daily & are required to visit their library monthly.

More First Library®, a program independent of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, offers first time parents, the majority in need, the choice of two new books a month from the First Book Marketplace with increased participation.

A third program, Most First Library, exclusively for first time mothers at risk, was offered until March of 2020. 

Please join me and my family and turn off tech for two hours starting on Tuesdays and help give free books to preschool children in your community. And funds for your participating school!

Catherine Tinger Goldberg

PS I recently put my TOT4TOT idea into practice after I received a serious concussion during an automobile accident.

The doctors instructed me that in order for my brain to heal from the trauma I needed to turn off technology, all mobile screens and television, for two hours a day.

I am happy to say I rediscovered many of the habits I had cultivated with my children (patience, listening, reading, and writing) with my visiting grandchildren.

And the results were spectacular!

Happy grandchildren and happy grandma.


First Library is a early childhood literacy program that promotes reading, book ownership, and library patronage.

Children registered in their literacy program receive a free, brand new, age-appropriate book each month by mail until the age of 5 through our partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.

Parents are asked to read to daily and are required to visit their local library monthly.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is a nationwide program that handles the selection and delivery of free books to children from birth to age 5 monthly.

These free books from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library are a mixture of classic and contemporary fiction and non-fiction for children.

The Imagination Library program is paid for by Ms. Parton’s Dollywood Foundation and a local sponsoring affiliate, such as First Library.

Affiliates, such as First Library, promote, register, manage, and pay all book, mailing and program costs while the Dollywood Foundation manages the book selection and delivery database system. 

PJ Library is a Jewish engagement and literacy program for Jewish and interfaith families with young children.

PJ Library is modeled after Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program.

PJ Library sends out free Jewish children's books and music to Jewish and interfaith families on a monthly basis by subscription.

PJ Library partners with communities around the world to provide families raising Jewish children with the gift of free, high-quality children's books, music, and resources that foster deeper engagement with Jewish life.