March is National Women’s History and Reading Month

March is Women’s History Month.  It’s also National Reading Month.  So, what better time to check in with a woman who is making history as a literary advocate, Dolly Parton.

“I beg your ‘Parton?’” you might be thinking, “Dolly Parton, the entertainer?” Yes, the singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman, philanthropist and now author (she co-wrote her first novel “Run, Rose, Run” with James Patterson last year and has written two childrens books) is the founder of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, described as “the world’s preeminent early childhood book-getting program.”

The program began in 1995 with the distribution of books in Sevier County, Tennessee, where Dolly was raised; today distributes more than 2 million books per month everywhere, from the United States to Canada to the United Kingdom to Australia and the Republic of Ireland.  The organization expects to gift its 200 millionth book this month.  Even though TCEC has only offered the program since July of 2022, there have already been over 3000 books distributed in our service area.  

“I didn’t really start a literacy foundation but rather wanted to get something going for children in my home county,” Parton explains in press materials.  “Over the years, we learned a lot about what works.  But the one thing I knew for sure is that to have even a remote chance for success, you have to know how to read and write.  And the best way to learn is to love books and love reading.” 

“My Daddy could not read or write, so I grew up with seeing how limiting it can be.  I often say he was the smartest man I have ever known, but I always wonder what else he could have done if he knew how to read.  The Imagination Library will always be my tribute to him.”

The Imagination Library, in partnership with TCEC, mails “high quality, age-appropriate” books to children from birth to age five at no cost to families.  Let’s grow it even more!  If you have a child younger than 5, enroll to receive a free monthly book by visiting or scan the QR code.  

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Photo Cutline: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gifted over 200 million books.
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Photo Cutline: Scan this QR code to register your 0 to five-year-old in the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program today!
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