Friday, December 28, 2007

Crossville Chronicle reports Imagination Library seeks local support

Ever heard of a good problem? The folks with the Imagination Library in Cumberland County have.The program began in the county in May 2005. In June 2005, the program was able to send out 123 books to children eligible for the program. In December 2007, 1,426 books were mailed, reaching 56 percent of children eligible in Cumberland County. Since the program came into the community, the Imagination Library has mailed 32,959 books to children registered with the program.According to Julie Shanks of the Imagination Library, that's a larger portion than was anticipated at this point. She said she thought enrollment would have been around 40 percent.That's why Shanks says the Imagination Library needs the support of anyone willing in the community in order for the program to continue reaching children at the same level. Thus far, the amount of children reached monthly has only increased since the program came into Cumberland County.The Imagination Library is available to children from birth to age 5 at no cost to the family. Each book is hardcover and is selected by a panel to suit the child's stage of development.Reaching children in 47 states, with the recent addition of Canada and Great Britain, the Imagination Library has given away 4.5 million books and has had 420,000 children enrolled in the program.The Imagination Library first came about through Dolly Parton. Parton became motivated by the fact that, despite her father being the smartest man she said she ever knew, he was illiterate. Parton wondered about her father's potential had he been able to read.Once Parton became successful, she grew interested in making a difference in children's lives in her hometown of Sevierville, no matter their family's income. In 1996, she established the Imagination Library for the children of Sevier County. There, the Dollywood Foundation funds the program at 100 percent. Cumberland County, however, counts on 50 percent of its support coming from local donors.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Logo Television's Jake...meets Dolly in the UK!

"Islands in the stream, that is what they are..." Jake and Dolly get close! Photo courtesy of Dave King/
Sometimes it seems like all the good TV comes from England. Doctor Who, Ab Fab, Graham Norton... And the Brits seem to crank out endless cool music/rock documentaries, too. On December 26th, folks in the UK get a belated Xmas gift when T4 airs “When Jake Met Dolly” in which “the excitable Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears fulfills a lifelong ambition by meeting his heroine Dolly Parton, the legendary Queen of Country!” Ummm... When do we get to see this Stateside, eh?
In the special, evidently Jake and Dolly hang out in her bedroom, they discuss her life and career and take “an eye-popping winter wonderland walk through her camp-as-Christmas travelling wardrobe.” Not fair! I wanna see...
Evidently Dolly was in England promoting her new tour (her new album Backwoods Barbie is due in February) and launching the UK arm of her children’s charity project, “Imagination Library.” Attagirl, Dora Lee!
Here’s a clip of Jake and Dolly, and there's another after the jump. They talk about gayness and boobs! Fine and dandy...

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

League of Extraordinary Teens in Cleveland, Tennessee

Bradley County now has four members of the League of Extraordinary Teens, a program of the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation in accordance with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
All four League members are students at Walker Valley High School, and are members of that school's Beta Club. They include 10th graders Melani Owens, Bethany Thomason and Joshua Eckelberry, and 12th grader Dani Armstrong.
Armstrong was the first to complete her requirements for League inclusion, and Owens, Thomason and Eckelberry soon followed. Each took on the task of meeting League requirements as a Beta Club project.
A program of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, the League of Extraordinary Teens is a unique and hands-on statewide initiative seeking to engage Tennesseans ages 13 to 19 in the financial and logistical support of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. League membership requires teens to personally register a minimum of 10 children and raise a minimum of $135 to cover the cost of enrolling those children in their county's Imagination Library for a full year.
In all, these four students raised over $900 and signed up well over the minimum requirement.
“I was so proud to see them take on this project and run with it,” said WVHS Beta Club sponsor Ashley Fox. “It is such a good program to get these books into the hands of pre-school children, and I know that these students feel the same.”
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library mails a new, age-appropriate, hardcover book every month to children from birth to the time they turn five, at no cost to the family. United Way of Bradley County administers the program locally.
Beta Club members at Walker Valley High School, Bradley Central High School and Cleveland High School worked earlier this year on a project where they were helping sign up children for the program at a home football game. Several children were signed up during that project, and money was also raised then for the program.
“It is wonderful to see these students getting involved in helping us not only sign up children for the Imagination Library and raise funds to help us locally but also to be good spokespersons for the program,” said United Way of Bradley County President and CEO Brenda Abel. “We appreciate Melanie, Brittany, Joshua and Dani, and the other Beta Club members in our community, who have been involved.”
Currently, 208 teenagers representing 36 counties have already been inducted and countless others are creatively working toward membership in the League of Extraordinary Teens. These teen-agers have personally registered more than 2,290 children and personally raised more than $28,645 for their counties’ Imagination Library program. Additionally, nine counties have received donations from local Beta Clubs totaling more than $3,835.
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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Barnes & Noble reach out to help support Dolly's Imagination Library

Collaboration = Happy Holidays for everyone! December 14, 2007 07:56 AM

Now that my husband and I have wireless in our house, we have the nasty habit of bringing our laptops into bed with us at night and catching up on all of the daily news, celebrity gossip, and posting activity to our facebook and MySpace pages. Last night, I was catching up on Minnesota news, and I read a snippet in the St. Cloud Times about the United Way partnering with a local Barnes and Noble for a day--when items were purchased at Barnes and Noble while using a special voucher, 10-25% of the purchase price went to the Imagination Library project. While these two organizations are on the larger scale of things, the collaboration between the two during the holidays can be inspirational for every organization, including libraries.
This holiday season, try to collaborate as much as possible with local businesses/organizations to make a positive impact in your community. Partner with the local food bank in your area and make your location a collection hub. Volunteer for an evening at a local shelter. If you are in the Rochester area, get together with other local organizations to bake cookies for the Gift of Life Transplant House and the Ronald McDonald House or take a group field trip the Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital (located within St. Mary's) and read to the little ones who can't make it to the regular story hours at the library. All of the little things count. I have found that every library staff person I have encountered is incredibly passionate about his/her job and is completely devoted to serving the needs of library patrons. This holiday season, let's open our hearts and serve the needs of our entire community. Happy Holidays!

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Dolly's Imaginaiton Library growing strong in Alaska!

Local Imagination Library celebrates one year of success Approximately 600 children participate in Dolly Parton program

"Dolly Parton grew up in a home without books, and her vision is that all young children will have their very own books," said Robin Bergey, the enrollment coordinator of the program at the Association for the Education of Young Children. "When kids have access to their own books, they are incredibly good at getting an adult to sit down and read with them."
According to Bergey, there has been a dramatic increase in the numbers of adults reading with children on a daily basis. A survey two years ago of parents of preschoolers showed that only 50 percent of Juneau parents were reading daily with their preschoolers, similar to national statistics. Last month an identical survey found that 76 percent of parents are now reading an average of a book a day or more with their preschoolers.
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library program was launched by a literacy task force in December of 2006 with a $9,000 grant from Communities In Schools, which was matched by support from local organizations and individuals. Task force members include AEYC, Communities In Schools, KTOO, United Way of Southeast Alaska, the Juneau Public Library and Tlingit and Haida Head Start.
"Parents reading with children is one of the most important predictors of school readiness," according to Elsa Demeksa, executive director of Communities In Schools, a local organization committed to increasing graduation rates in Juneau.
"A child that can read, is a child that will succeed," Demeksa said. "This program gets right to the heart of the matter - putting books directly into the hands of children and families."
The local match to sponsor a child is $30 per year, for 12 hard cover books tailored to the age of the child.
"A donation in a child's name is a fabulous gift idea for any child" stated Bergey. Due to generous volunteer support, the funds go directly to purchasing the books, which are mailed by the Dollywood Foundation. "This program has proved it works, and now we need to keep the train rolling for a second year," emphasized Demeksa.
The literacy task force invites individuals, businesses, and organizations to be part of this successful effort. Sponsors are recognized by a display at the downtown library. Sponsor forms and enrollment forms are located at the Mendenhall Valley and downtown libraries, on the AEYC Web site at or by calling 789-1235.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stephen Shoemaker print to benefit Dolly's Imagination Library

Shoemaker print to benefit Imagination Library Artist Stephen Shoemaker will sign prints of “Imagination Library” on Thursday, Dec. 13 at the Mount Jefferson Branch of AF Bank. This whimsical work of art is a fundraising project for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and Ashe Partnership for Children.(Post photo by Linda Burchette) by Linda Burchette, Assistant EditorPublished: Monday, December 10, 2007 10:48 AM CSTBooks let your imagination run wild, and for youngsters, reading can open a whole world of new thoughts and experiences. To help promote reading among youth, Ashe County implemented last year the Dolly Parton Imagination Library with free books for children.
To help promote and support the program, local artist Stephen Shoemaker has created a special print, “Imagination Library,” sponsored by Bob Washburn and AF Bank.
“Bob Washburn said he wanted to do something special for the Imagination Library, so he said create something,” Shoemaker said. This delightful print is the result.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Postman makes special delivery to Dolly Parton

POSTMAN Clive Loveday made a special delivery to Dolly Parton.
The Swindon postie was entrusted with delivering the first book to children at the UK launch of the country singer's Imagination Library.
The US singer, pictured right during a patriotic gig, was in London to present books to youngsters from Rotherham who are the first on the scheme, which provides a new book each month from birth until the age of five.
A person in the local community funds the cost of the books, while Dolly Parton's foundation covers the overheads.
Mr Loveday, of Hythe Road, Old Town, was invited to deliver the books because he is Royal Mail's community postman of the year in recognition of his work teaching young people the dangers of alcohol.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

"I want Brit Kids to Love Books too" Dolly Parton

"I GREW up poor and ragged in the hills of east Tennessee.
I knew my dreams would come true and I know there are people in British communities with their own dreams.
They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer.
The seeds of these dreams are often found in books. The seeds people help plant in their community can grow across the world.
The Imagination Library Program is one of the most important ways I know to improve the educational opportunities for children.
We have seen it work in our own backyard and I’m certain it can do the same in British communities too.
We were contacted by the Rotherham people last year. They were in the US working on some other things when a girl from Tennessee tourism told them about the program.
This year we are distributing 11million books in the US. We started in Canada last year and now we’re coming to Britain.
But we don’t want to go where we’re not necessarily wanted. We only want to go in where we can help.
It’s not just for poor children – it’s for all children.
From the day they’re born, they will get a book a month till they are five. All the books arrive in their name in the mail.
In my backyard the children call me the Book Lady – they think I actually bring the books myself. "

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Love for Dolly's Imagination Library spreads around the world!

Allison & Busby Books
I have always adored Dolly Parton, ever since watching her hold her own against the comic genius of Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dabney Coleman in 9 to 5. So I was delighted to see that the Queen of Country was visiting our fair shores this week at the request of Rotherham Council. Rotherham? As in South Yorkshire? Indeedy. Dolly had been invited to launch a very special literacy project, based on the remarkable Imagination Library scheme she originally introduced in her native Tennessee back in 1995. The scheme has now extended to over 500 counties spread across 36 states, and sends every pre-school age child a free book every month. Isn't that amazing? Rotherham are going to adopt the scheme from 2008 and Dolly was their guest of honour at the launch.

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Dolly causes one-hour delay town hall meeting.......(so what right?)

The country music star Dolly Parton brought a touch of Tennessee glamour to the South Yorkshire town of Rotherham today, but aroused rather the wrong passions in some of her council hosts. Miss Parton delighted the audience at the rather incongruous setting of the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham with a typically belting rendition of her hit “9 to 5,” following the UK launch of her children’s literacy scheme Imagination Library. But Miss Parton’s visit caused a stir of an unfamiliar kind among some Rotherham councillors, who complained that democracy – in the form of a one-hour town hall meeting - had been delayed for the whims of Council Leader Roger Stone, a dedicated Dolly fan. Mr Stone was introduced to Imagination Library during a visit to Nashville last year on official council and chamber of commerce business. He later persuaded her to choose Rotherham for the UK launch of the project, which, funded by her Dollywood Foundation, posts books to children every month up until the age of five - and joined her on stage today.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Expands to United Kingdom

Entertainment legend travels to London and Rotherham for announcement.
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Entertainment superstar Dolly Parton was at London’s Savoy Hotel today and travels to the Magna Science and Adventure Park in Rotherham tomorrow to announce the launch of her Imagination Library program in the United Kingdom.
Founded by Parton in 1996 as a way to inspire children in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., the Imagination Library provides a new, age appropriate book each month from birth until age five to registered children in participating communities. A local sponsor in each community funds the cost of the books and mailing while Parton’s Foundation covers the overhead, selects the books, and negotiates the cost. She has created The Dollywood Foundation of the United Kingdom to manage the efforts in the UK.
Currently, 15,000 children are eligible in Rotherham. The effort is sponsored by the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.
“I’m just thrilled beyond my wildest dreams at how my Imagination Library has grown from my home county in the U.S., all the way across the pond to The United Kingdom,” Parton said. “I can’t say enough about the kind folks of Rotherham who invited us here, and I look so forward to working with our local partners all across the UK to give books to as many kids as possible.”
In honor of the program’s UK launch, Parton presented the first book in London to Rotherham’s first registered participants. She also will pay a visit to Rotherham where she will present the first book to a newborn. Parton will conclude the day’s activities by meeting with local and regional officials.
“I hope that my Imagination Library will fit in well with the many other wonderful programs here who do so much to help children,” Parton said. “Together, we can make a huge difference in the lives of so many little ones.”
Penguin Group UK will provide all books for the Imagination Library in the UK. Penguin Group USA supports the Imagination Library in the U.S. and Canada. In the UK, the Imagination Library is partnering with Royal Mail and the dsicmmGroup LTD mail house to distribute books.
In the United Kingdom, the first book in the 60-volume collection is Beatrix Potter’s popular Tales of Peter Rabbit. The first books will be mailed to registered children in early 2008.
After the launch events, Parton and her Foundation hope other communities in the United Kingdom will follow Rotherham’s lead and provide the Imagination Library to their children.
The Imagination Library currently operates in more than 700 communities in 43 states in the U.S. as well as Canada. To date, 417,000 participating children in the U.S. and Canada currently receive books, with 4.5 million books mailed this year alone. Since the program’s inception in 1996, more than 11.6 million books have been mailed.
In 2000, Parton received an Association of American Publishers (AAP) honor. On Nov. 8, the Smithsonian Institution's Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars awarded her its Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service.
Parton recently announced new European tour dates as part of the Backwoods Barbie 2008 World Tour. The European Leg starts in Stockholm, Sweden on June 13, takes in Denmark, Norway, Holland and Ireland, culminating at the O2 Arena in London on July 5, with numerous dates in between.
Parton said, “I had a great time when we were in Europe last tour, and I expect to have even more fun on the up and coming tour. I can't wait to see all the fans again. We have a lot of new songs from my new CD, Backwoods Barbie, and a lot of fun things for everybody. Get ready cause here I come again!”
For complete tour dates and information, visit or 0870 400 0688.
For more information or to cover this event, contact
Dollywood Foundation Executive Director David Dotson at
1-865-654-1288 or email at

In Rotherham please contact
Tracy Holmes, Head of Corporate Communications and marketing Rotherham MBC,
at 01709 822735 or email at

For all European Interview, Preview and Tour PR Enquiries:
Steve Guest - Press and PR Manager - Live Nation Music UK or (0) 207 009 3371

For compelte access to the world of dolly Parton visit

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

BBC tells Dolly Parton's Rotherham Dream

The singer said it was her "dream" to help children read.

Country star Dolly Parton will jet into South Yorkshire to launch a scheme she devised to improve children's literacy.
The American singing legend set up the Imagination Library in her native East Tennessee to encourage youngsters to read more.
Council chiefs in Rotherham have taken a leaf out of the singer's book and are introducing the method locally.
Parton will launch the first UK Imagination Library at the town's Magna centre on 5 December.

Monday, December 3, 2007

UK in spin and Dolly isn't even there yet!

Country and western superstar Dolly Parton has infuriated a group of English local councillors by forcing them to delay their regular meeting when she visits this week.
Parton is travelling to Rotherham in South Yorkshire to launch her children's literacy program, Imagination Library, on Wednesday.
But some independent and Conservative councillors are outraged that Parton's visit will mean they have to delay by one hour a full meeting of Rotherham borough council so civic leaders can meet her.
"I'm boycotting the lunch and I am outraged that democracy is being put on hold because of a celebrity," independent councillor Tony Mannion told The Times.
"I have nothing against Dolly Parton. Not that I know much about her except that she sang 9 to 5.
"That's about the top and bottom of my knowledge. And I think the literacy scheme is a good idea.
"My objection is over the timing. We have vital business to discuss, for example the siting of a power station in the middle of a nature reserve. And we have few enough council meetings as it is."
Mr Mannion said he believed Parton was invited to the town because the Labour-led council leader Roger Stone was quite partial to her country and western charms.
"I suppose my complaints will fall on deaf ears and that some might say it's a storm in D-cup, or double D-cup," Mr Mannion said.
"But it's the principle."

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dolly's Imagination Library Goes to the United Kingdom!!!!

Report by
The BBC on Friday promoted Dolly’s upcoming appearance in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, to kick off the first British chapter of her international literacy campaign, the Imagination Library. Read the piece here, and check out a video version of the story as well here. She will be in town on Wednesday for the event. (And don’t be confused by the word “scheme” in the article. In the Queen’s English, the word has a neutral connotation rather than the negative overtones that most Americans associate with it.) In other Library news, the addition of Forsyth County, Ga., is observed in Access North Georgia here (noting that a foundation there aims to have the program statewide by 2010 -- presently, Dolly’s native Tennessee is the only state to offer it in every county), but on a less positive note, The Fergus Falls Journal in Minnesota on Friday noted that its Otter Tail County chapter is suspending operations for six months due to lack of funding for the local share of the program with the hope to start up again in six months. More than 17,000 books have been distributed there, the story reported here

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