Why Dolly Parton Started the Imagination Library

Dolly Parton has always been one of those celebrities everyone seems to love. The singer who is well-known for her hits like “Jolene” continues to be an active force of nature. More recently, Parton has been in the spotlight for recreating her iconic Playboy cover from the 1970s. The talented musician has come a long way since then, and throughout her remarkable career Parton has inspired fans and followers everywhere. The Imagination Library is one of the many testimonies to her personality, passion, and, success. 

What is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library?

Dolly Parton attending the We Are Family Foundation Honors event in 2019
Dolly Parton attends We Are Family Foundation honors Dolly Parton & Jean Paul Gaultier. | John Lamparski/Getty Images

In 1995, Parton began her Imagination Library. Regardless of families incomes, Imagination Library mails free books to children between the ages of 0 and 5. Initially, the project that was grounded in literacy began in Sevier County, Tenn., Parton’s home roots. However, it didn’t take long for the inspiring and beneficial program to grow. 

It has been almost three decades since Parton first founded Imagination Library, and the star’s vision has grown exponentially since. These days, Parton’s Imagination Library is accessible in America, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland. In 2020, the Imagination Library was recognized for giving its 150 millionth free book.

Parton is no stranger to ambitious goals; from her music to the star’s business endeavors, the 75-year-old singer has always found ways to stay both busy and relevant. Naturally, she has her eye set on an even larger goal when it comes to the Imagination Library. Parton explained to NPR, “We’re going for a billion, maybe, in my lifetime. I’m a big dreamer, you know.”

Why did Dolly Parton create the Imagination Library?

Parton has received a lot of praise and attention for her positive work regarding Imagination Library. Not only is Imagination Library an incredibly worthy cause, but it is also one that is very near and dear to the celebrated country singer’s heart. In an interview with NPR, Parton opened up about the inspiration behind Imagination Library:

“I just wanted to do something great for my dad and for my home county and, at the most, maybe a couple of counties over. But then it just took wings of its own, and I guess it was meant to be.”

Parton’s father, like so many during those times, was forced to go to work to help support his family versus attending school. As a result, her dad struggled when it came to reading and writing. Never wanting anyone to feel the pain or judgement that her father sometimes felt, Parton launched Imagination Library as a way to promote literacy in children from a very young age. 

What is Dolly Parton’s favorite book? 

If it wasn’t clear by now, Parton is definitely passionate about literature. With that being said, it probably isn’t too surprising to hear that the singer aims to read at least 50 books a year. As Parton told Today, “I spend so much time reading … People say, ‘When do you have time to read? But I wake up in the middle of the night, I read. I’ll read myself to sleep. I don’t watch TV that much, I prefer to read.”

When it comes to Parton’s favorite book, she picks the Bible — however, Water for Elephants and The Count of Monte Cristo are two other go-to reads for the beloved singer. 

In regard to reading, it wouldn’t hurt to take a page or two from Parton. It’s no wonder that Parton’s Imagination Library is the success it is today.

RELATED: When Dolly Parton Opened For This Musician, She Wanted to ‘Pipe Marijuana Smoke’ in to Loosen Up the Stuck-up Audience