National treasure, Dolly Parton, has shared her talents with the world for decades. We’ll be singing along to timeless hits “Jolene” and “9 to 5” for eternity and laughing through tears with Dolly’s portrayal of Truvy, lovable gossip in the beloved tearjerker Steel Magnolias.
As if her generous gifts of music and film weren’t enough, Dolly has also been a noted philanthropist for the bulk of her career.
Ms. Parton has supported literacy efforts across the nation for many years. Inspired by her dear father who wasn’t afforded the opportunity to go to school and could not read or write, Dolly wanted children to be given access to what her father did not: books at an early age.
In 1995, she started the Imagination Library, which mails one book per month to every child enrolled from their birth until they reach kindergarten.
“When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer. The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”
The program first sprouted in East Tennessee, and has since spread across the nation and throughout Canada, Australia, The Republic of Ireland, and the UK.
As of February 2019, Dolly’s Imagination Library has delivered over 115 million books to children all over the world to foster a love and enthusiasm for reading. Today, there are 1,395,312 children enrolled in the program.