Dolly delivers one millionth Imagination Library book to Cana Beth Waynick in Georgia
Dolly delivered the one millionth Imagination Library book to a little girl from Georgia named Cana Beth Waynick on, December 12, 2003, during a special ceremony at Dollywood. This moment symbolized not only what had been accomplished so far, but also showed the promise of even more valuable opportunities for the future of Imagination Library.
Dolly talked about why she created Imagination Library at the event,
“I was the worst student in the world, hated school. But I got involved in the education stuff several years ago when we first started the scholarship fund back in the '70s. And of course, my folks didn't get a chance for a good education. My Dad never was able to read and write. Had a house full of kids. But he was the smartest person I ever knew in spite of that fact. And I just think I wonder what all my Daddy could have been had he been able to read and write. And of course through the years we've tried to help all the young kids in any way that we can.”
Her Imagination Library has widened its offering to try to reach all children. Bilingual books were added as well as special editions which include reading tips for parents printed inside the books. Registration brochures were made available in Spanish. A diverse group of educational professionals and passionate individuals began working together in their commitment to encourage every child’s love of reading.
The first study about the impact of Imagination Library was released this year. Conducted by the High/Scope Research Educational Foundation, the study concluded,
“Parents overwhelmingly report that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program is effective at increasing time spent reading with children, making children more interested in books, making parents more comfortable reading to children, and increasing parent awareness of their children’s reading levels.”
By the end of 2003, a total of 260 communities in 35 states had committed to providing Imagination Library books to their preschool children. The number of children receiving books each month (63,000) was more than twice the number at the end of 2002 and the same doubling held true for the total number of books distributed for the entire year.