Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Celebrates 200 Million Books Gifted

Photo from Dolly Parton’s Instagram

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Celebrates 200 Million Books Gifted

By Movieguide® Contributor

Dolly Parton is celebrating gifting 200 million books to young children through her Imagination Library organization. 

“It’s been one of my greatest gifts in life to help instill a love of reading through my Imagination Library,” Parton said. “Reaching 200 million books worldwide is a major milestone that I’m so very proud of, and I want to thank all of our local program partners, funders and supporters from the bottom of my heart. But we’re just getting warmed up, we have so much more to do! Together, we can inspire even more children to dream more, learn more, care more, and be more.” 

To celebrate the milestone, Imagination Library will place seven bookmarks inside the books shipped during September – International Literacy Month. 

Discovering a bookmark will allow recipients to meet Parton over Zoom, receive a signed letter and photograph from the country music superstar, obtain tickets to Dollywood, and receive a $2,000 donation to their local Imagination Library program. 

Parton was inspired to create the Imagination Library in honor of her father who couldn’t read or write. 

“That hindered him a great deal because he was so smart. It really bothered him a lot,” she said. 

The nonprofit was conceived in 1995 as a way to combat illiteracy across the nation and around the world. Parents can enroll their children, who are younger than five, into the program and receive a free book for them every month. The organization currently reaches over 2.4 million children across Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom, along with the U.S. 

“My dad was so proud when the kids would get the books. He just was prouder of that than probably me great success in show business,” Parton said. 

The organization hit a major achievement in 2003 when it mailed its 1 millionth book. In 2018, it celebrated 100 million books. Amazingly, only five years later, it is celebrating the 200 million book milestone. 

The explosive growth is set to continue, as the program recently received support from the state of California. As Movieguide® previously reported: 

Dolly Parton has expanded her Imagination Library program to include children in California.  

“Today is an amazing milestone for children and families across the state!” Parton said in a statement about the initiative.  

Governor Gavin Newsom echoed her comments, saying, “Dolly Parton unites us through her music — and through her commitment to helping all kids develop a love for reading.” 

Newsom shared that the expansion will be complete in the next five years, meaning more than 2.4 million children will be eligible to receive the monthly books.  

“We still have a lot of work to do, but together we can inspire a love of reading in children across California that will last a lifetime,” Parton said.  

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