Dolly’s gifting a special bookmark to seven children in her Imagination Library program as part of “200 Million Reasons to Celebrate”
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is turning over a new chapter in the Imagination Library legacy — celebrating 200 million books gifted globally since inception in 1995. The early childhood book-gifting program mails a high-quality, free book each month to children from birth to age five. The Dane G. Hansen Foundation, which sponsors the program, and local partner, the Salina Area United Way, are excited to celebrate with every child and family enrolled locally. In July, 1,837 children who live in Saline County were enrolled in the Imagination Library, which has been available in the county since 2013.
To celebrate this global 200 million book milestone, seven enchanting Dolly bookmarks will be randomly hidden inside Imagination Library books gifted during International Literacy Month (September) to children currently enrolled in the program. (Children must be enrolled by July 31 to receive Imagination Library books in September.)
Seven random children in five countries who find the Dolly bookmarks in their Imagination Library books will receive, if they choose, a video chat with Dolly, a personalized signed letter from Dolly, an autographed photo from Dolly, and four Dollywood Theme Park tickets. The Dollywood Foundation will also donate $2,000 on behalf of the child to the local Imagination Library sponsor as a thank you to who Dolly calls the “true heroes” of her program.
Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Dolly started the Imagination Library in 1995 to serve the children of her hometown in Sevier County, Tenn. Today, her program spans five countries and gifts more than 2.4 million age-appropriate books each month to children around the world. There is never a charge to families who participate in the program, and it is open to all children under the age of five in geographic areas with operating programs.
“I know there are children in communities around the world with big dreams and the seeds of these dreams are often found in books,” said Dolly. “It’s been one of my greatest gifts in life to help instill a love of reading through my Imagination Library. 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.”
A recent survey of parents in the 26 counties where the Hansen Foundation sponsors Imagination Library confirmed that area children enjoy receiving books in the mail. It has helped increase their interest in reading.
“We appreciate the mission of Imagination Library, and as a child who rarely had a book to call her own, it means the world that my children will have a collection for their children,” one parent wrote in the survey.
“We LOVE the Imagination Library!” wrote another parent. “It has introduced a wide assortment of types of books that interest our kids, and it has helped to increase their love of learning and our love of sharing learning with them!”
Participating in 200 Million Reasons to Celebrate is voluntary and does not affect enrollment in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. All children under five years of age who are actively enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library by July 31 can participate. To learn more, visit www.imaginationlibrary.com/200-million-books.
About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library:
Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the premier early childhood book gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation has mailed well over 200 million free books in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and the Republic of Ireland. Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading, inspiring children to dream. The impact of the program has been widely researched and results suggest positive increases in key early childhood literacy metrics. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information, please visit imaginationlibrary.com.
The Dane G. Hansen Foundation began funding the program throughout Northwest Kansas in 2017.