Dolly Parton Created the Imagination Library for This Special Person in Her Life

Dolly Parton is one of today most popular music icons. The Grammy Award winner uses her talents outside of music with film appearances, launching her theme park, and her philanthropic work. Parton holds a special place in her heart for this passion project she created in honor of a close family member.

Dolly Parton speaks at the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards
Dolly Parton | Getty Images/Getty Images for ACM)

Dolly Parton launched the Imagination Library 25 years ago

The country music queen considers creating the Imagination Library one of her greatest accomplishments. Launched in 1995, the program is designed to send books to pre-K kids each month to foster a passion for reading.

“We created it for the kids in my hometown to inspire a love of reading and a love for books by giving them a new book each month until they are 5 years old,” Parton told Paper Magazine in 2015. “We are still going strong.”

The Jolene singer feels that reading can plant seeds of inspiration, especially in children.

“It’s amazing what books mean to people at certain times in their lives,” Parton remarked. “I want books to be in every household in the world so every child has an opportunity to love reading and to love learning.”

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The Imagination Library was started for Dolly Parton’s father

Parton revealed that the genesis of the entire project came from wanting to pay homage to her dad, Robert Lee.

“Where it all really started was with my daddy,” the singer said. “He was, without a doubt, the smartest man I have ever known, but he could not read very well. Daddy did an incredible job of providing a good life for our family, but there is no telling what he could have achieved if he had learned to read. So the Imagination Library is just one way for me to honor him.”

Parton’s father died in 2000, but was able to watch the Imagination Library start from development to launch, as well as its success for several years before his passing.

“Thankfully he lived long enough to see the Imagination Library flourish across the country,” the 9 to 5 star shared. “Not long before he passed, he told me he was more proud of me for the Imagination Library than anything else I had ever done. I’ll never forget that moment. So every time I am called the Book Lady, I think of my Daddy.”

Dolly Parton has a team for the Imagination Library

While Parton is an A-list celebrity, she was quick to point out that she needs help to keep the Imagination Library going and has a team of support.

“There is a tendency for people to think I do everything when it comes to the Imagination Library,” she noted. “Obviously, I don’t do everything, and I don’t fund it all. I do my part, but I rely on the generosity of thousands of people to help make my dreams come true… and in the process I hope their dreams come true, too.”

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Parton’s strong faith and positive attitude continue to attract more followers to her already massive fan base. The country star clearly hopes to make a beneficial impact through her work.

“I want what everybody wants: peace, prosperity, fairness and equality,” she said. “I know most of the time the world feels like a distressing and depressing place. But I am now and will always be an optimist, so I try to see over the clouds and just follow the light.”