Posts Tagged ‘Imagination Library’
“My daddy was more proud of the kids calling me the book lady than them calling me a star.” Dolly Parton
Everybody that knows me well knows that I adore Dolly Parton. Always have since I was a little girl and my mom would let me listen to her country music collection. It throws people off when I tell them that Dolly’s my role model. HHHM they say. Don’t you write about hip hop? Aren’t you well . … Black? Why yes I am, have been for a very long time. But good music and good examples know no racial or cultural boundaries. Growing up I loved Dolly because she appeared fearless. She spoke how she liked, wore what she liked and she had great big hair. Over the years I have grown to appreciate Dolly’s sense of community and commitment to improving the lives of children.
One of my favorite Dollyisms is: “It makes you feel better about your success if you don’t just hoard all that money. I always pray to God, ‘well, give me enough to share and enough to spare.’”
And that’s what she’s done. Dolly is a well known philanthropist dedicated to improving the quality of life “back home”. Providing jobs is one of the reasons why she placed her Dollywood theme park in the Smokey Mountains. “I knew Dollywood would be a great business for me, but I also knew it would generate a lot of money in that area and provide jobs. That’s true success-when everybody’s making money.”
Even though Dolly and her husband Carl Dean don’t have any children of their own, her dedication and love of children is clear. Perhaps one of Dolly’s most lasting contributions to the world is the founding of the Imagination Library in 1996 to encourage preschool children to love reading. Each month, the Imagination Library mails a brand new age appropriate book to every child under 5 in her home county – starting with The Little Engine that Could until the child receives Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come at age 5.
What I love about the Imagination Library is that Dolly took on providing books to children in one county and then the idea spread around the country and now is being replicated around the world. Now that’s Song-in-Action. Over 6 million books are expected to be distributed to children through the Imagination Library and its local affiliates in 2009. Communities that wish to provide books through the Imagination library first determine their geographic area (town, district, even a whole state) in which they wish to distribute the books. Then they establish their local affiliate, raise funds, and start helping kids love to read for a lifetime.
This blog post was inspired by my mother who turned me on to Dolly when I was little and gave me the great article “How Dolly Does it” by Meg Grant in AARP The Magazine from which I located the quotes above.