The Story of Dolly’s Imagination Library
In 1996, Dolly Parton launched an exciting effort to benefit the children of her home county, Sevier County, in eastern Tennessee. Dolly wanted to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families. She wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create.
So she decided to mail a brand new, age appropriate book each month to every child under 5 in Sevier County. With the arrival of every child’s first book, the classic,WattyPiper’s classic The Little Engine That Could (Platt & Munk; 1961), every child could now experience the joy of finding their very own book in their mail box. These moments continue each month until the child turns 5-and in their very last month in the program they receive Nancy Carlson’s Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come (Viking, 1999)
Needless to say the experience has been a smashing success! So much so that many other communities clamored to provide the Imagination Library to their children. Dolly though long and hard about it and decided her Foundation should develop a way for other communities 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. Moreover a database was built to keep track of the information.
Consequently, in March of 2000 she stood at the podium of The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and revealed the plan for other communities to provide the Imagination Library to their children. And as only Dolly can say it, she wanted to “put her money where her mouth is-and with such a big mouth that’s a pretty large sum of money” and provide the books herself to the children of Branson, Missouri and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-communities where her businesses now operate.
How it Works
A community must make the program accessible to all preschool children in their area. The community volunteers (Renee Kramer, Lore Long, Angie Schwieterman, Michelle Duncan, and Carol Hone) pay for the books and mailing, promote the program, register the children, and enter the information into the database.
From there, The Dollywood Foundation takes over and manages the system to deliver the books to the home, FREE of charge to the preschoolers.
Sign up your Child
Go to the following website to sign up your child aged birth to 5 years old, living within the 45822 zip code:
Contact Renee Kramer at Renee.Kramer@CelinaSchools.org
Fill out an Imagination Library registration form located within the office of Celina Primary School.
Any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Renee Kramer at Renee.Kramer@CelinaSchools.org or at 419-586-8300 ext. 1500.