Dolly Parton is the national treasure that keeps on giving and giving and giving. When she’s not building a business empire of theme parks and restaurants, the actress, performer, and songwriter is doing what she loves most: encouraging children to read. And she doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk (in high-heeled boots, no doubt) with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.
In 1995, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort to benefit the children of her home county in east Tennessee. Dolly wanted to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by giving each child one free, age-appropriate book per month from birth until they start school.
The program began by sending out 1,500 books per month. They now send out an astonishing 1,000,000 books per month to four countries. Today, Dolly Parton joined Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden for a special ceremony at the Library of Congress where Parton donated a special edition of her Coat of Many Colors book. The event marked Parton’s Imagination Library’s 100th million book donation!
Hayden and Parton also announced a new ongoing partnership between the foundation and the Library of Congress.
From Knox News:
They are partnering together to feature an Imagination Library storytime at the Library of Congress on the last Friday of each month that will be livestreamed in libraries across the country, according to Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are, because today we are celebrating literacy, learning and reading, and we couldn’t ask for a better person or organization to collaborate with today," said Hayden during the ceremony.
Can you imagine the impact these books have had on the lives of children around the world? Six University of Tennessee students are working on a documentary to highlight the stories of these books and the children who’ve been impacted.
Six University of Tennessee students and one faculty member from the School of Journalism and Electronic Media made the trip to D.C. to document the 100 millionth book presentation, according to a press release from UT.
Their group is part of Land Grant Films, which is working on a documentary tentatively titled "100 Million Stories." The documentary will tell the story of the Imagination Library, its impact and some of the recipients of the free books.
You can watch Dolly Parton’s ceremony at the Library of Congress here: