A Dublin 24 child is the lucky recipient of a magical Dolly bookmark to celebrate 200 million books being gifted globally since Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library inception in 1995. To celebrate the 200 million book milestone, seven Dolly bookmarks were randomly hidden inside Imagination Library books mailed to children in five countries, including right here in Dublin. The lucky recipients receive a personal video chat with Dolly, with a personalized signed letter from Dolly, an autographed photo of Dolly and four Dollywood Theme Park tickets.
The Dollywood Foundation will also donate €2,000 on behalf of the child to their Local Imagination Library Partner in their community – The Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) – as a thank you to who Dolly calls the true heroes of her programme. The Imagination Library is an early childhood book-gifting programme that mails a high-quality, free book each month to children from birth to age five. CDI is excited one of their own children was a lucky recipient. CDI enrolls 4,700 – 5,000 local children in the worthwhile program each month – that’s 72 – 75% of eligible children.
“We were delighted and so excited across the whole organization because Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is one of our farthest-reaching programmes,” exclaimed Clare Bohan, literacy coordinator for Childhood Development Initiative. “To know one of the children who was quite literally chosen, one in more than two million, is incredible and we weren’t expecting to have a recipient here. Bohan went on to say, “To know we played a role in the 200 million books delivered worldwide is a really positive thing we’re really excited about. It gives us the feeling we are part of something bigger than us and part of something special and we know our families feel the same.”
The €2,000 will go straight back into serving more families in the area by funding these high-quality books for more than a thousand local children. Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Dolly started the Imagination Library in 1995 to serve the children of her hometown in Sevier County, Tennessee. Today, her programme spans five countries and gifts over 2.6 million free, high-quality, age-appropriate books each month to children around the world – one book is mailed every second! There is never a charge to families who participate in the programme and it is open to all children under the age of five in geographic areas with operating programmes.
“I know there are children in communities around the world with big dreams and the seeds of these dreams are often found in books,” said Dolly. “It’s been one of my greatest gifts in life to help instill a love of reading through my Imagination Library. Reaching 200 million books worldwide is a major milestone that I’m so very proud of, and I want to thank all of our local programme partners, funders and supporters from the bottom of my heart. But we’re just getting warmed up, we have so much more to do! Together, we can inspire even more children to dream more, learn more, care more and be more.”
Bohan echoed this sentiment. “Books can play a huge role in a household – instilling the Importance of reading. Books are so much more than words on a page. They mean bonding and serve as a prompt for spending quality time together. We know from our parents these books play an important role in building confidence in reading and preparing children for school.”
To learn more, visit www.imaginationlibrary.com/200-million-books.