Imagination Library hits 100 Million Books

Carla Hayden (Library of Congress), Dolly Parton, and David Dotson (Director of the Dollywood Foundation)

Carla Hayden (Library of Congress), Dolly Parton, and David Dotson (Director of the Dollywood Foundation)

Joined on stage by Library of Congress Librarian, Carla Hayden, Dolly Parton takes the stage in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress on February 27th, 2018 in celebration of 100 million books being distributed by her Imagination Libraryprogram since its inception in 1996.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book-gifting program she started in her home of Sevier County, Tennessee that mails a free, brand new, age-appropriate book to children registered with the program from the time their born until they turn five to inspire a love of reading, books, and learning.

The Imagination Library has grown from its humble beginnings in Tennesse to being sponsored all over the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. As of now, over 1 million books are mailed to children across the world every month! February 2018 marks 100 million total books mailed since 1996, so Dolly and her team celebrated in a very special way. 

Instead of putting the book in the mail as it’s usually done, she traveled to Washington D.C. to dedicate the Imagination Library’s 100 millionth book to the Library of Congress for all children to view and read any time they desire. A special unveiling ceremony with Library of Congress Librarian, Carla Hayden revealed that the special 100 millionth book was a special dedication edition of Dolly’s book, “Coat of Many Colors”. 


With my local nonprofit, The DeGood Foundation, I’ve been a proud affiliate and program director of the Imagination Library for the Newport News area since late 2017, and I couldn’t be more excited to begin mailing our books! Because of this, I had the pleasure and honor of attending the event with Dolly and the Imagination Library team. 


As if the immense milestone of 100 million books wasn’t enough, Dolly came down from the stage to read her book, “Coat of Many Colors” (based on her song, Coat of Many Colors) to local children from D.C. Public Schools. In the middle of reading the book, she began to sing the chorus lines to the audience’s surprise and delight. 

The Imagination Library truly is a wonderful program that not only inspires a love of reading, books, and learning in children, but also helps them dream more, learn more, care more, and be more. Here’s to 100 million books, and to 100 million more! 

100 Million Books Event - Photo Gallery