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 "Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library:..." 
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Post "Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library:..."
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library: Bringing Literacy to Your Mailbox
by: Bob Foster





You haven’t really made it until you give back to the place that gave you your start. Dolly Parton knows this, so she has undertaken a massive project to bring literacy to the children of her native Smoky Mountains. And now, she is spreading it across the globe!

In 1996, Dolly began her Imagination Library in an effort to ensure that all children have books, regardless of their family’s income. She mails a brand new, age appropriate book every month to each child under five in Sevier County, Tennessee. From their first book, The Little Engine That Could, to their last, Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come, children in eastern Tennessee are learning the value of reading.

The program expanded when other communities asked for their children to be included. Penguin Group USA became the exclusive publisher of the Imagination Library books, and in 2000 she began providing books to the children on Branson, Missouri and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, both places where her businesses operate. All she asks is that other local community leaders take the same initiative!

And they did:

If a community will make the Imagination Library program available to all of their preschool age children, pay for the books and mailing, promote the program, register the children and enter the information into the database, the Dollywood Foundation will manage the system to deliver the books to the homes. There are 1,068 communities involved and just under 561,000 children enrolled.

In 2009, 6.2 million books were distributed. This brings the total number of books distributed by Dolly’s Imagination Library to just over 23 million! That is definitely making a difference in the lives of many, many children.

The Imagination Library is also making a difference abroad! The program has moved to the United Kingdom, where they distributed their 100,000th book in 2009. It is also in Canada, where the number of children participating increased 100 percent every month in 2009. The Library has created statewide, universal programs in Tennessee and the Yukon Territories, and is making strides to create similar programs in Alaska, Georgia and West Virginia.

Most recently, Dolly published her own children’s book, I am a Rainbow. She also announced that all the royalties she earned from it would be donated to the Dollywood Foundation that runs the Imagination Library program.

The Book Lady, a documentary recently made about Dolly and her commitment to literacy, is being circulated in Canada, recognizing her work as a tireless advocate of children.

Get involved and register your community! Just type in the population on Dolly’s Imagination Library website and you can get a cost estimate for what you need to start your own library. If you can find a sponsor or fundraise to cover this purchase, you will be making a contribution to your community whose benefits will be apparent for generations to come.

Dolly has given so much to the children of her home town—we should all be inspired to do the same!

Learn more about Dolly's charitable initiatives and about other cool things happening in the Smokies at our Gatlinburg cabins website. Look for the blog link and click on it for some more great reading.

About The Author
Bob Foster became an expert on this part of the country as a child. Bob turned that childhood expertise into a profession managing a business that specializes in rentals of Gatlinburg cabins and Pigeon Forge cabins
The author invites you to visit:
http://patriotgetaways.com


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Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:51 am
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