Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Is Changing the Lives of Young Readers around the World

What could be better than free books delivered to your home for your young child? Sign up for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library today!

Dolly Parton brings the love of reading and free books right to children’s doorsteps.

Among the countless celebrity success stories out there, few are as inspiring as that of Dolly Parton. Born into poverty in rural Tennessee, she grew up in a musical family and began performing in front of her church when she was just six years old. In adulthood, this knack for music became a burgeoning career, and she has since become a country music icon with a staggering net worth of around $650 million. 

For all her fortune and fame, though, she’s never forgotten her roots back in Tennessee and uses her wealth to support those in poverty. Perhaps her most notable philanthropic effort is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which provides children under five with free books to encourage learning and development.

Founded in 1995, it originally only served the county she grew up in. It exploded in popularity, and today, it serves countless communities across not just the USA but also Canada, the UK, Australia, and the Republic of Ireland. So, how exactly does the service work, and how can you sign up?


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How It Works

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is incredibly simple for the beneficiaries. Just sign up your child(ren) under five for the program and wait. Every month, a new book addressed directly to your child will be shipped to your door until they reach five years of age, for a maximum of sixty books per child. 

These books are carefully curated and chosen for their quality, age-appropriateness, and appeal to young readers, so you can be sure that your kiddos will love every single one of them. Best of all, it doesn’t cost you a dime. Everything from the books themselves to the shipping costs has already been paid for, so you and your children can just sit back and enjoy your new books.

Of course, as with any highly convenient service, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to keep the Imagination Library up and running. With the vast number of communities the foundation serves, it’d be impossible for them to oversee every single one. Instead, the Imagination Library partners with local affiliates to ensure each community’s needs are met. 

The affiliates provide the money for the books and shipping expenses, while the foundation covers the expenses for the initial setup and continued administration.

From there, the foundation purchases the books wholesale, sends them to the addresses provided by the affiliate, and at the end of the day, those books end up on your doorstep. It’s an ingenious system that’s only continued to grow over the years.


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Bringing the Imagination Library to Your Area

Of course, because the Imagination Library can only function with the help of local affiliates, it may only be available in some areas. Even if you’ve checked and noticed your area doesn’t have access, there’s no need to worry. With enough support from the community, you can become a local affiliate yourself! Though the process is covered in much more detail on their official website, we’ll give you the rundown here.

First, you need to secure funding. You can do this through a donation drive or by partnering with local businesses, nonprofits, the local chamber of commerce, and individual benefactors. If you’re wondering how much you need, their site features a cost estimator, so give it a quick look.

From there, get in touch with the organization itself, put together a team to manage your efforts, and submit the partnership documents provided.

Finally, prepare for the launch, knowing that you’re doing good work not just for your community but also for the world.

If you’d like to learn more about nonprofit organizations that support the development of reading skills, feel free to visit us at EveryLibrary today!



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