“Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute” Premieres April 7 on Netflix

Published March 23, 2021 / Last Updated March 23, 2021
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

Netflix presents “Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute,” premiering April 7, 2021.

On Wednesday, April 7, “Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute” will premiere on Netflix. It’s a star-studded evening of music and memories featuring a community of iconic performers. Dolly changed the world, song by song and this special tribute celebrates everything her fans love about her artistry, compassion and generosity.

Dolly is the first artist from the Nashville music community to receive this honor. Her considerable creative accomplishments and longtime support of several causes, including her Imagination Library, led the Recording Academy™ to honor Dolly with this prestigious award in 2019. Since 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library® has gifted more than 154 million books to children from birth to five years of age in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the Republic of Ireland.

Dolly’s Awards

The Recording Academy™ has recognized Dolly throughout her career, most recently when she received the GRAMMY® for Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song for her duet with Zach Williams, “There Was Jesus.” This was Dolly’s 11th GRAMMY win, including her Lifetime Achievement Award and MusiCares Person of the Year Award.

Team Dolly“Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute” Premieres April 7 on Netflix

Rolling Stone Features Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Published March 16, 2021 / Last Updated March 17, 2021
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
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Team Dolly

Rolling Stone gives an inside look at Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library® and the team behind its success.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is featured in an exclusive online article by Rolling Stone. In the article, dated March 8, 2021, Rolling Stone highlights the successes of Dolly’s book gifting program and reveals how a small team managed to expand the program into a worldwide success.

Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Dolly Parton launched her Imagination Library in 1995 near her small hometown in Sevier County, Tennessee. Dolly’s vision was to inspire a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month, regardless of the family’s income.

Total Books Gifted

Since 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has grown from a hometown effort to an international program offered in 5 countries. More than 155 million free books have been gifted as of March 2021, with over 1.8 million children enrolled in the program across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and the Republic of Ireland.

So, how does she get books into the hands of all those children? Rolling Stone explains that while Dolly is an undeniable force, her passionate team at the Dollywood Foundation and its network of partners and affiliates have been crucial to the program’s success.

For a deeper look at the inner workings of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, read the full article on Rollingstone.com 

Team DollyRolling Stone Features Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Celebrates Read Across America Day

Published March 2, 2021 / Last Updated March 2, 2021
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 celebrates beloved children’s book author and Read Across America Day.

Dolly Parton, also known as the Book Lady, and Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, are both synonymous with inspiring a love of reading with children around the world. Read Across America Day is celebrated on Tuesday, March 2, in observance of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Today, the Imagination Library joins the nation in honoring the doctor of rhyme and his books that have been putting smiles on kids’ faces since 1937.

Since launching in 1995, the Imagination Library has gifted more than 150 million free books to children in five countries, continuing Dolly’s mission to inspire a love of reading around the world. Read Across America Day is a great way to celebrate the cherished books that inspire everyone to dream more through daring adventures, far-off lands, beloved characters and epic journeys.

Watch this video to learn more about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the amazing people who help put more books into the hands of more children.

Team DollyDolly Parton’s Imagination Library Celebrates Read Across America Day

The Passion Behind The Imagination Library

Published December 8, 2020 / Last Updated December 9, 2020
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

People behind-the-scenes of the Imagination Library share their passion for the program and its mission.

Who paves the way for Imagination Library books to arrive at a child’s home, on time? Who makes sure that each book is addressed properly to each individual child? Who reads every book to evaluate quality, age level and content? Who spends days, weeks, months fundraising to ensure books are free for all registered children? In these Front Porch interviews you’ll meet a few of the people who have worked hand-in-hand to grow the program and introduce it to new cities, states and countries. Our Managing Editor, Jacob Timmons, connects via video call with David Dotson, Jeff Conyers and Ann Staup to talk about some of the key milestones of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. They share funny stories, talk about the challenges and rewards and even share their own ideas for writing a children’s book.

Growing The Program

David Dotson is the chief executive officer of the Dollywood Foundation, the nonprofit organization which houses the Imagination Library. David joined the Imagination Library team shortly after it launched. He led the initial replication efforts which grew the program. When it started, the Imagination Library mailed around 1600 books to children in Dolly’s home county in East Tennessee. When replication of the program was introduced more counties came on board followed by different states and eventually countries. In that effort, David worked closely with Jacob Timmons, who also happens to be president of S.D. Professionals, LLC, the company that created a fully-automated operation that streamlined the entire process for the Imagination Library program. In a recent Zoom call, David and Jacob talked about the early days of replicating the program in new areas.

In the interview, David is also quick to praise the unsung heroes of the Imagination Library. The people who “made our dream, their dream.” He said,

“There is always one, two, three, four people in an organization or in a community who are really the heroes, the unknown heroes…They are some of the most talented, most committed, most inspiring people in the world.”

The Joy Of Each Book

Jeff Conyers, brought on in 2011, is the President of the Dollywood Foundation and shares David and Jacob’s passion for growth and expansion. His devotion to the Imagination Library is unmistakable. The consummate champion for the program, Jeff is devoted to seeing each local affiliate succeed. He credits part of his enthusiasm to experiencing first-hand the benefits of monthly books arriving in the mail. Jeff said,

“I’ve had the opportunity to see it in my own family, right at home, and watch my kids grow up getting a book in the mail every month. Seeing them run up to me saying, ‘Hey, Daddy Daddy, will you read this book to me?’ And I know that’s happening in millions of homes all across the world right now because of the work that we get to come in and do every day.”

1.7 Million Books Each Month

The actual mailing of the books is a critical part of the Imagination Library’s story. Jacob called up Ann Staup the owner of Direct Mail Services, Knoxville, TN, to talk about how the books move from a warehouse in East Tennessee to the doorsteps of millions of children. Her business is sometimes referred to as “the little company who could” because they made such incredible strides to facilitate the needs of the program. For Ann and her team, this work is more than a labor of love, it’s challenged her to adapt and grow in many ways that she could never have imagined. A mailing list that started at 1600 books in 1995 now increases each month and the current monthly total sitting at 1.7 million books! In the interview, Ann talks about the automated mailing process, her devoted team and milestones she has witnessed over the years. Ann said,

“It’s a passion to make sure we are doing everything we can to make sure this program grows, the way that Dolly wants it to grow.”

Imagination Library Film Premiere

A new feature-length documentary spotlights Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the thousands of local affiliates around the world who help make Dolly’s dream come true. The Library That Dolly Built will premiere on Facebook worldwide on December 9, 2020, at 7 PM EST. Additionally, a European premiere is set for Thursday, December 10 at 7 PM GMT. The film will premiere in Australia on Friday, December 11 at 7 PM AEDT.

The film features the music of Dolly Parton and is narrated by actress and author, Danica McKellar. It is produced by Land Grant Films, directed by journalism professor Nick Geidner, edited by video instructor Clinton Elmore and crewed by 15 University of Tennessee students.

Team DollyThe Passion Behind The Imagination Library

Honoring Robert Lee Parton…One Book At A Time

Published December 7, 2020 / Last Updated December 9, 2020
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 brings honor to her father and his legacy through her Imagination Library.

Often in life, people face seemingly insurmountable challenges and for some their response to those challenges creates opportunities for greatness. In some cases, this transition can be immediate and in others, it can simmer for years.

In 1995, already an icon of American pop culture and an international success, Dolly Parton launched her Imagination Library. Today, it’s a global book gifting organization that has gifted nearly 150 million free books to children around the world. On many occasions, Dolly has shared her inspiration for the program. She said,

“When I started the Imagination Library, it was to honor my Daddy. My Daddy was so smart but he felt crippled with the fact that he couldn’t read and write.”

True, the concept was born in the mid-1990s, but in Dolly’s mind, the program actually sprang from a seed planted many, many years earlier. To fully understand the birth of the Imagination Library, we must first look at the life and childhood of Robert Lee Parton, Dolly’s father.

Many today know Robert Lee as played by Ricky Schroder in the popular NBC movies Coat of Many Colors and Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. The real Robert Lee was born in March of 1921. The son of Walter and Bessie Parton, Robert Lee grew up in what was then a typical way with farm work being a big part of his childhood. For Robert Lee, and many children raised by farmers and sharecroppers, circumstances required them to abandon school and labor to help feed their families. It wasn’t seen so much as a choice but a duty.

Unfortunately, for Dolly’s father, this way of life meant that he didn’t get the chance to learn to read and write. Of course, he supplemented these skills by becoming a knowledgeable farmer, shrewd deal maker and skilled tradesman. He may have raised his family with humble means but he instilled a wealth of love and knowledge in each of his children. Still, he would carry the weight of illiteracy for much of his life. That is until Dolly made it her mission to set the wrong, right. Dolly said,

“When I got this idea to do the Imagination Library I wanted to get Daddy involved in it. I wanted him to help me with that so he could take the pride in that and so he did. He got to live long enough to hear the kids call me the Book Lady.”

Dolly doesn’t just credit her father’s disadvantage with being the inspiration for her Imagination Library, she sees it as his divine calling. If life was determined to keep him from learning to read as a child, Dolly believes God was just as determined to create something amazing because of it. Dolly said,

“I kept telling him, everybody has a different purpose in life and if nothing else maybe this is why you couldn’t read and write. Maybe God knew a long time ago that I was going to do something that would help millions of kids and people that couldn’t read and write. So I tried to give him that pride.”

In 2000, Robert Lee Parton departed this world knowing his daughter had made a difference in the lives and hearts of many children through the books gifted by her Imagination Library. At that time, the program was in the infant stages of a national replication effort that would expand its reach beyond Sevier County, Tennessee. Today, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gifted nearly 150 million books to children in five countries. In 2018, Dolly Parton, the daughter of Robert Lee Parton – a humble farmer who never had the chance to learn to read and write – dedicated the 100th million book, which she authored herself, to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Indeed, an incredible way to honor her father.

The Imagination Library’s full story will play out in a new documentary called The Library That Dolly Built, premiering exclusively on Facebook on December 9, 2020, at 7 PM Eastern.

Team DollyHonoring Robert Lee Parton…One Book At A Time