Library of Congress Honors Imagination Library With Significant Award

September 16, 2021
Library of Congress Honors Imagination Library with Significant Award

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library awarded David M. Rubenstein Prize by Library of Congress

The worldwide literacy program that many have called “the little program that could” continues to receive praise and recognition for its role in shaping the future for millions of children around the world. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library received one of the highest literacy honors from the Library of Congress on International Literacy Day for the work it does to instill a love of reading in kids.

The Library of Congress awarded the Imagination Library, an initiative of The Dollywood Foundation, with the $150,000 David M. Rubenstein Prize for its work in delivering more than 160 million books to children around the world. The Imagination Library continues to race at an ever-accelerating pace, now providing 1.8 million high-quality, age appropriate books each month to children birth to age five around the world. Dolly herself visited the Library of Congress on February 28, 2018, to enshrine the program’s 100 millionth book, fittingly a copy of “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors,” which is an adaptation of her iconic song of the same name.

According to a release from the Library of Congress, “Since 2014 when the Imagination Library received ‘best practice’ recognition from the Library of Congress Literacy Awards, the Dollywood Foundation has strategically positioned the Imagination Library for aggressive growth…Although mailing the books to each child’s home is only one aspect of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, it is a remarkable feat that helps improve literacy on an international scale and creates special moments for children and families.”

The David M. Rubenstein Prize

The prize award is named in honor of David M. Rubenstein, the co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group. Rubenstein is a major benefactor of the Library of Congress and is the chairman of the Library’s lead donor group, the James Madison Council. Dollywood Foundation President Jeff Conyers said,

“We are grateful to win what truly is the most prestigious award from the Library of Congress. This award showcases how the dream Dolly had years ago has become one of the world’s largest book gifting programs. She continues to express her pride in what the Imagination Library has become, and she is excited for the growth it is poised to experience moving forward. There is no doubt Dolly treasures being called ‘The Book Lady’ more than just about anything.”

The United Nations General Assembly designates a number of “international days” to mark important aspects of human life and history, including International Literacy Day on September 8. For more information on International Literacy Day, visit

New to the Imagination Library?

You can check availability in your area to register a child, sign up to receive a notification when the Imagination Library becomes available to you or learn more about how to Start A Program in your area.