A book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school, no matter their family’s income.
In 1995, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee, USA. Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families. The new program gave each child a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age appropriate books directly to their homes, Dolly wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could ensure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.
Since its launch, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has set and surpassed many goals and milestones. National replication, which started in 2000, allowed more and more communities to adopt the program. State-wide coverage was established in Tennessee in 2004. Furthermore, international growth provided expansion in Canada (2006), United Kingdom (2007) and Australia (2014).
The first book order in 1995 totaled just over 1,700. Today, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library sends more than one million books per month to children around the world inspiring them to Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More.
Together, Dolly Parton and her book gifting organization have received honors and awards for their dedication to enriching the lives of children everywhere.
The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, Best Practices award from the Library of Congress Literacy Awards and recognition in Reading Psychology are just a few among a long list of the prestigious acknowledgments the program has received.
The Imagination Library partners with Local Champions who help bring the program to cities, towns and communities around the world. Local Champions can be businesses, school districts, small or large organizations, or simply individuals who share in the mission and purpose of the Imagination Library.
Local Champions are responsible for enrolling children who live within the geographical area they offered the program in. They promote their local programs online and at events. While the Imagination Library negotiates wholesale pricing for the books, Local Champions are responsible for securing funds to cover that cost. Books are 100% free to enrolled children because their Local Champion has secured funds to cover the cost of the books and the shipping fees.