Dolly Parton has always loved to read so in 1996, in an effort to benefit the children of her home county of Sevier in east Tennessee, she launched a scheme that would help every child have a book, regardless of their financial situation. Her Imagination Library was born and the scheme was such a success that other states in the US asked to be a part of it. The Library provides a brand new, age appropriate book each month to every child under 5 directly to their home address via the postal service. Dolly wanted to create that special feeling of each child receiving their very own book through their own letterbox. The scheme is designed so that the books will continue each month until the child turns 5 and in their very last month in the program they receive a special ‘graduation’ book.
As the Library grew in its success, Dolly thought about how her Foundation could develop a way for other states to participate. The Foundation asked a blue ribbon panel of experts to select just the right books and secured Penguin Group USA to be the exclusive publisher for the Imagination Library. And now Dolly has brought her Imagination Library to the UK where The Dollywood Foundation of the United Kingdom has been formed. Penguin Books UK was chosen as the exclusive publisher for the programme, and along with partners Jordan & Company International Limited for fulfilment, Royal Mail for delivery, and the UK’s very own blue-ribbon panel of experts to choose the books, the scheme is now on its way!
It works like this; the community who wants to get involved must make the programme accessible to all preschool children in their area. They then pay for all the books and mailing, promote the program, register the children, and enter the information into the database. From there on The Dollywood Foundation of the United Kingdom takes over and manages the system to deliver the books to the home. So far Dolly’s Imagination Library has delivered a total of just over 23 million books worldwide and in the United Kingdom, the 100,000th book was distributed. The website offers advice on which types of books are recommended for each age group and how to get a scheme in your area started. If you would like to enrol your child into the Library or find out how to get your community involved then visit www.imaginationlibrary.com/uk