In 1996, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee, USA.

Dolly’s vision was to foster 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.

By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.

Here’s Dolly speaking at an Australian Press Conference, sharing about the Imagination Library and what she hopes to achieve through putting books in kids hands..


Dolly’s Imagination Library became so popular that in the year 2000 she announced that she would make the program available for replication to any community that was willing to partner with her to support it locally.

Since the initial program launch in the United States, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gone from just a few dozen books to nearly 40,000,000 books mailed to children in the United States, into Canada and across the proverbial pond into the United Kingdom!

Currently over 1600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to almost 750,000 children each and every month. Already statistics and independent reports have shown Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library drastically improves early childhood literacy for children enrolled in the program. Further studies have shown improved scores during early literacy testing.

United Way Australia became an official partner of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in 2012. Since initiating our pilot program mid-2013, 6 communities and over 1300 children are already benefiting from the program. We are pleased to be launching the initiative more broadly across Australia,often in conjunction with Rotary clubs who are key local partners in the Imagination Library program.


There is simply no limit on how far we can take this program, but it is an absolute impossibility without your help. If your community or a community that you are aware of doesn’t yet offer this proven early childhood literacy program, then we challenge you to Get Involved!

It’s actually quite easy to bring the Imagination Library to life in your community and we have plenty of experience and resources to help you.

Alternatively any financial support will enable United Way to bring this important program to more children from disadvantaged areas across Australia. To make a donation CLICK HERE.


United Ways throughout Australia and the world are being called upon to provide leadership and support to the community.


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