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Washington/Library of Congress/Canadian-Media: Library of Congress presents a documentary of Dolly Parton’s world-class book giveaway program for young children debuted on Facebook this week, highlighting her Imagination Library’s 25-year history and its ties to the Library.
Imagination Library. Image credit: Facebook page
Since the inception of this program in 1995 when Parton -- the child of impoverished parents (her father was illiterate) in rural Tennessee -- built an international program, more than 150 million books have been given away to young children.
Dolly Parton. Image credit: Facebook page
Participating children of this program receive one free book by mail each month from birth until age five, regardless of income.
The program which began in Parton’s native Sevier County, in the Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee, with a first order of 1,760 books soon grew by 2001, by its operating with 27 affiliates in 11 states.
The organization gave away its one millionth book in 2006. A decade later, it was mailing that many books each month and now working across the United States and in Australia, Canada, Great Britain and Ireland.
Parton, a frequent guest at the the Imagination Library, was a 2014 recipient of the Library’s Literacy Awards and in 2018 donated the program’s 100 millionth book to the Library’s collection.
She also joined Librarian Carla Hayden for a talk about the program for the occasion.