Imagination Library

Imagination Library Homecomin’ 2017 Highlights

Published July 12, 2017 / Last Updated July 13, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library affiliates enjoyed four days in Pigeon Forge, TN during Homecomin’ 2017!

Local affiliates from Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States visited Dolly’s home in the Great Smoky Mountains during Homecomin’ 2017. The biennial celebration was held at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. And visiting affiliates took advantage of all the amenities of the resort and the Smokies during their working conference. David Dotson is the President of the Dollywood Foundation which houses the Imagination Library. David said,

“We hosted the very first Homecomin’ way back in 2001. We had just started to promote the Imagination Library and as I recall, we had about a dozen participants discussing how they could expand to their neighboring communities. Now the discussions are about expanding DPIL across entire states and provinces, becoming a part of public policy and celebrating over 100 million books gifted to our children.”

The Conference

Homecomin’ is held every two years in Pigeon Forge, TN. This year’s conference offered attendees the chance to gain valuable insight into the overall growth of the program and highlighted some recent case studies. The conferenced kicked off with a major announcement.

The legislature in North Carolina allocated $10,000,000 to expand the program across the state. This decision is a huge boost for the program and more importantly a wonderful resource for children and their families in that state.

During the week, some affiliates were invited to share their own success stories about program sustainability. Other topics included fundraising as it pertains to building relationships within a community. Additionally, members of the Book Selection Committee, including program partners from Penguin Random House, shared the process of choosing the high-quality, age-appropriate books for each child group. Attendees also listened to presentations about engaging political figures and in-depth research on the Imagination Library’s impact.

Surprises & Celebrations

Little Engine That Could Wall Quilt at Imagination Library Homecomin' 2017

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Mendocino County, First 5 Mendocino, surprised the event staff with a beautiful handmade quilt. With permission from Penguin Random House, Renee M. Gannon from Ukiah, Canada made the beautiful Little Engine wall quilt. This display piece was raffled off at the end of the week to one lucky winner. Affiliates also celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday.

In keeping with the international gathering, attendees donned bunny ears and celebrated “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” This classic story welcomes children into the program in the United Kingdom.

Visiting Author

Special guest and award-winning author Matt de la Peña charmed the audience with his personal stories. He shared his experience growing up as a mixed-race child in Southern California. Matt openly talked about the lack of books in his childhood home and the impact that had on his family. His book, “Last Stop on Market Street” and his personal experiences make him the ideal ambassador for early literacy awareness. His message is especially relatable to minority children and their families.

In reflecting on the program and Matt’s guest appearance at the conference, David Dotson said,

“We have reached the point where authors recognize the honor bestowed upon their work when their book is chosen for the Imagination Library. We have now hosted a number of illustrious authors who tell us it is not just the number of books distributed by us that is so impressive. Rather it is witnessing this vast network of organizations and governmental entities that are united in their efforts to inspire children to love to read and to love to learn.”

Matt’s book, “Last Stop on Market Street” has beautiful illustrations by Christian Robinson. It takes readers on an energetic bus ride through a bustling city with CJ and his Grandma. Along the way, Grandma helps CJ see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

The Imagination Library Book Selection Committee unanimously voted to add Matt’s book to the 2016 Book List (Canada & USA)*. “Last Stop on Market Street” would go on to win the 2016 Newbery Medal. It also earned a 2016 Caldecott Honor and a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. Furthermore, it became a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

*“Last Stop on Market Street” will appear in the United Kingdom’s 2018 Book List.

Entertainment & Fun

Rest assured, the week wasn’t all work and no play for this group. Affiliates visited several attractions during their time in the Smoky Mountains. They enjoyed nightly fireworks at Dollywood’s DreamMore as well as live music and a host of amenities at the resort.

Small groups formed for some shopping at The Island. While they were there, they posed for a photo in front of The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a now iconic Pigeon Forge symbol. On one night, they took in a dinner show at Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures. There they cheered on the Partons and the Owens families. They also went sightseeing and grabbed some photos of the Great Smoky Mountains.

On the final day, the entire group gathered at The Little Engine Playhouse inside Dollywood’s Heartsong Theatre. They watched the stage production of “Coat of Many Colors” based on Dolly’s book of the same name. In addition to this show, The Little Engine Playhouse will feature performances based on Jennifer Plecas’ “Pretend” and “The Little Engine that Could” by Watty Piper

Special Thanks & Looking Ahead

The Dollywood Foundation and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library would like to send a special thank you to everyone who helped make Homecomin’ 2017 a huge success. With a final thought, David Dotson said,

“Lastly, it is all too easy to be discouraged about the times we live in. When our network gathers for Homecomin’, the discouragement evaporates and is replaced by an abiding belief that there is indeed more good than bad in the world. These are the inspiring leaders in their communities and they will never rest to insure that their children are given every opportunity in the world to thrive and succeed.”

Plans are already underway for Homecomin’ 2019!

Visit Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to learn more about this incredible program that now mails over one million free books each month to children in four countries!

Team DollyImagination Library Homecomin’ 2017 Highlights

North Carolina Approves Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Statewide

Published June 20, 2017 / Last Updated June 22, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will soon be available across North Carolina!

In the 2017-2019 final state budget, the North Carolina General Assembly approved $3.5 million (first year) and $7 million (second year) for Smart Start to administer Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library across North Carolina. Dolly said,

“I’m so excited to join Smart Start to expand my Imagination Library across the state. Welcome aboard North Carolina – let’s give these dreams some wings!”

Cindy Watkins is the President of the North Carolina Partnership for Children/Smart Start. Cindy said,

“This budget clearly reflects a commitment to investing in our youngest children and their families. Our state leaders have expanded funding for child care subsidy, NC PreK, and early literacy through Smart Start. These investments are significant steps forward in building strong foundations for our state’s future.”

In addition to statewide coverage for the Imagination Library, the approved budget includes a $27.3 million increase in funding for NC PreK. Also, an increase in the market rate for child care subsidies for infants to two-year-olds in tier three counties. Finally, it includes an increase of $2 million for Nurse Family Partnership.

Smart Start

Smart Start is a network of 75 nonprofit local partnerships that serve all 100 North Carolina counties. This network is led by The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (NCPC) that ensures fiscal and programmatic accountability, and coordinates the statewide network to create better outcomes for children and families.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

The Imagination Library is a book gifting program for children from birth to age five. The mission of the program is to foster a love of reading in preschool children. And ensure that every child born has books, regardless of their family’s income.

Team DollyNorth Carolina Approves Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Statewide

Imagination Library Tops One Million Facebook Followers

Published February 16, 2017 / Last Updated March 13, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

It’s a milestone moment for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library which now has over one million Facebook followers!

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has reached another major milestone! Over one million Facebook users are now following the free book gifting organization on the social media site. Thanks to the loyal support of those one million people over five billion Facebook users have been reached within the past 90 days. This exponential reach has given the program record-breaking enrollments and the popularity has peaked the interest of thousands of potential new partners around the world. Dolly said,

“Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting my Imagination Library. With more than a million friends, we can make the world a better place for millions of children, one page at a time!”

Follow Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – #ThanksAMillion
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library now sends over one million free books per month to children around the world. To date, the organization has sent more than 85 million free, age-appropriate books to registered children.

The program is also celebrating the release of a state approved license plate in Tennessee. Residents of Dolly’s home state may now purchase the official Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library license plate at their local County Clerk’s office.

Team DollyImagination Library Tops One Million Facebook Followers

Dolly Parton License Plate Benefits Imagination Library

Published February 1, 2017 / Last Updated February 2, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library specialty license plates are now available in Tennessee!

License plates cost $35 each and are available at County Clerks’ offices. Of the total cost, local Imagination Library affiliates will receive $15.37. The remaining amount will go to the Tennessee Arts Commission and the TN Highway Fund ($15.37) and plate production costs ($4.25).

Thanks to the generosity of Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) which covers half of the monthly cost of books and mailing in Tennessee, each license plate sold will provide funds for one child to receive free books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for one full year! Great news for Tennessee residents who wish to support one of the world’s largest book gifting organizations whose mission is to inspire a love of reading in children across the state and beyond.

Plates can be purchased through your local County Clerk’s office.

 

Tennessee residents showed an overwhelming support for the new license plate during pre-sales, helping the Imagination Library secure the minimum 1,000 pre-orders in just a few months. Special thanks to everyone who pre-ordered plates to help the organization reach this goal!

Team DollyDolly Parton License Plate Benefits Imagination Library

£1 Million Dream Fund Award To Imagination Library – UK

Published January 27, 2017 / Last Updated January 27, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dollywood Foundation project wins £1 Million funding in the UK!

The Dream Fund selected the Story Starters project- a collaboration between Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Beanstalk and LuCid at the University of Liverpool to receive £1 Million ($1.2 Million).

The funding announcement was made on 24th January at People’s Postcode Lottery’s annual Charity Gala, held in Edinburgh’s Prestonfield House. The event was a celebration of the £66.3 million awarded to charities in 2016 thanks to players of the charity lottery.

Ambassador Jeff Brazier and Managing Director/Head of Marketing for People’s Postcode Lottery UK, Lorna Menzies presented the check to the Regional Director of the Imagination Library UK- Kirsteen Watson, CEO of Beanstalk- Ginny Lunn, and Deputy Director of LuCiD- Professor Julian Pine.

The funding will result in the recruitment and training of 600 Story Starter volunteers to give one-to-one support, with high-quality books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to 1,800 children between 3 and 5 years old, creating an innovative approach to learning. LuCid will carry out expert education evaluation. If successful, the programme will be rolled out to 15,000 children over the next 5 years. Dolly Parton said,

“It seems only right that dreamers like us have been acknowledged by the Dream Fund! I am so grateful for their confidence in our partnership and I promise we will do everything in our power to make sure our children’s
dreams do come true.”

The Dollywood Foundation UK was one of several organizations who were recognized by the Dream Fund whose offerings totaled £2.5 million in 2017. Charitable organizations in Great Britain (Scotland, England or Wales) were eligible to apply. According to the Dream Fund website applicants are encouraged to be “innovative, creative and original, and present projects that are a genuine ‘dream’.” Previous winners have included Building Our Dreams, Edible Playgrounds and Energy Gardens.

With thanks to North Lincolnshire Council & East Coast Pictures for some of the footage in this film.

Each month, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library sends over one million free books to registered children living in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. In the UK alone, there are over 90 local champions who help make this dream possible. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Imagination Library’s launch in the United Kingdom.

Special thanks to Beanstalk and LuCiD for partnering with the Imagination Library in this effort. Also, thank you to People’s Postcode Lottery.

Beanstalk is a national charity that provides one-to-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading ability and confidence.

The ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD) is a five-year research collaboration working with partners from across the world to transform our understanding of how children learn to communicate with language.

Team Dolly£1 Million Dream Fund Award To Imagination Library – UK