Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Sparks a Joy of Reading

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Sparks a Joy of Reading

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How Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Started

Dolly Parton was inspired to begin her Imagination Library by her father, who was unable to read or write. She wanted to take action and play a part in planting the seeds for children to grow up and achieve their dreams. She knew that oftentimes these seeds were found in literature and placed an emphasis on the importance of exposing children to books at a young age. She’s famous for saying “You can never get enough books into the hands of enough children.” This is why Parton’s program allows families to register their child from birth. The Imagination Library is a book gifting program that starts from birth to kindergarten. Children that are registered in this program are mailed free books each month until they begin primary school.

Expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly began her vision in her hometown of Sevier County, Tennessee. After years of success, it became replicated on a national level with the entire state of Tennessee pledging to pursue statewide coverage and looking towards global expansion of the program. A few notable achievements include adding Native American Communities in 2002 and audio and braille books being added in 2011. The program partnered with the American Printing House for the Blind to provide selected Imagination Library books to children six times a year until they reach their 6th birthday.

Inspiring Other Libraries

The Imagination Library’s goal to bring free books to children is just one example of literacy projects that libraries participate in. The sentiment behind Dolly’s Imagination Library is universal and many libraries try to engage their communities through book gifting events. Libraries in Colorado gave free paperback books to every four-year-old in the state. The goal of this One Book Colorado Program was to encourage families to read as well as add to their home libraries.

Impact of the Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has been making a difference in the lives of children since its inception. Its mission is focused on instilling lifelong learning through reading and research has shown it is effective at doing so.