February 26, 2018
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library sends out its hundred millionth book
by Stephanie DeLuca
Dolly Parton — singer, songwriter, actress, legend, icon, humanitarian — started the Imagination Library in 1995, a literacy program that mails children a free book every month from the time of their birth until they enter kindergarten. Inspired by Parton’s own father’s illiteracy, Dolly’s Imagination Library has spread its goodwill throughout the country: as we’ve reported before, the library has been reproduced in 556 counties in thirty-six states across the US, with additional versions in Canada, the UK, and Australia as well.
And tomorrow Dolly’s Imagination Library will hit a milestone: their 100 millionth donated book, which they’ll be turning over to the Library of Congress, according to Kristi L. Nelson at the Knoxville News.
Nelson reports that the event, taking place at the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, is open to the public, and will be livestreamed via YouTube. Dolly will read to local students during the presentation.
The Imagination Library is responsible for getting books in the hands of millions of children, helped spur the growth of a small business, and has inspired countless fundraisers for childhood literacy. “Before he passed away,” Dolly says, “my Daddy told me the Imagination Library was probably the most important thing I had ever done.” Sounds right — but “Jolene” is still a close second.
Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.