Imagination Library

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What is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library?Imagination Library Logo

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is all about inspiration and imagination. In 1995 Dolly developed the program so that every preschool child in her home of Sevier County, Tennessee, would have their own library of books that would encourage in them a love of reading and learning. The program was so successful and generated such interest from across the country that after much thought, Dolly decided to offer her Imagination Library for replication in any community that will support it.

There are only a few requirements for replication. First and foremost, all of the preschoolers in the community will be eligible for enrollment in the program. In order to bring the books to the children, a local champion must pay for the cost of the books and their mailing. The average cost for each child is $25 per year.

There are a couple of local responsibilities as well. The champion registers the children, maintains the data base, and places the monthly book order with The Dollywood Foundation.

How Does It Work?

Each month, from the day the child is born until his/her 5th birthday, a carefully selected book arrives in the mail. Kids across the country have shared the excitement of running to the mailbox to retrieve their book. More often than not, the child wants the book read to them now – not tonight, not tomorrow, not later…right now!

Each book is selected by a committee composed of parents, teachers, child development specialists, librarians, publishers, and others specializing in early childhood literacy. Special attention is given to age-appropriateness and the development of such positive themes as promotion of self-esteem and confidence, regard for diversity, and appreciation of art.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is not a charity or a social service – it is a gift to all preschoolers in a community.

Why Begin So Early?Dolly Parton reading to children

Learning to read is a process much like learning to speak or learning to walk. The process begins at birth. Children associate sounds with emotions. They must learn how a book works – you read left to right and you turn pages. They associate pictures with words. These are all steps along the way to learning to read.

Perhaps even more importantly, they also learn to love to read. Sitting in a loved one’s lap, all warm and cozy, develops a powerful association between reading and love. These are pleasurable experiences and as such, they prompt those words we love to hear, “Read it again, Mommy!”

There is ample research to support early literacy, yet common sense tells us most of what we need to know. The key to success in school and beyond is developing proficient reading skills. One of the most important things a parent can do to develop these skills is to read with their child as much as possible.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a unique opportunity to give something simple yet powerful to children and parents.

By reading regularly with our children, we can give them the biggest boost toward a successful education they will ever get, making a huge difference in their future and the future of our communities.

To learn more about how the preschool children of your community can become part of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, call The Dollywood Foundation at (865)428-9606 or visit the Foundation at

An electronic version of our brochure can be downloaded here.

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