Launched in 2008 in the UK, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library book gifting programme has delivered more than 2.6 million books to around 92,000 children across the country.
The UK arm of the programme, which started in Rotherham, now runs in several towns and cities across including West London, Luton and Nottingham, sponsored by local authorities, businesses, housing associations, nurseries and non-profit organisations. The programme is open to all children from birth to age five.
Currently 40,000 children in the UK are enrolled in the programme, receiving a book in the post every month.
The bookgifting programme was originally set up by Dolly in her hometown in Tennessee as a tribute to her father, who she says she was an intelligent, hardworking man who never got the opportunity to read or write.
Worldwide, the programme, which also operates in parts of the US, Canada and Australia, has delivered 100 million books to children from birth to the age of five. Earlier this year, Dolly delivered the 100 millionth book at a special event at Washington DC’s Library of Congress.
Dolly Parton said, ‘I am so delighted to celebrate our 10th birthday in the UK. It seemed like a big dream when we first thought of sharing our books with UK kids. But I’m a mighty big dreamer and it’s wonderful to know that our books have now been able to touch the lives of so many children in communities both big and small right across the UK.’
Sally Kent, mother to four-month-old Jessie, who recently joined the Imagination Library in Southwark, where more than 4,000 children in the London borough are benefitting from the programme, said, 'I feel very lucky that we live in an area of the UK that delivers Dolly’s Imagination Library and that we get to be part of the thousands of families waiting with eager anticipation to discover a new book each month.
'So far we’ve had Peter Rabbit and My First Animals and we get a lot of enjoyment from reading them to our four-month-old daughter. We’re thrilled that Jessie will grow up knowing the joy and adventure that books can bring and have her own special library to cherish thanks to the generosity of Dolly.’
- To find out whether Dolly’s Imagination Library is available in your area click here