On This Day: Dolly Parton Hand-Delivers Her One Millionth Book From Her Imagination Library in 2014

by Halle Ames
(Photo Credit: Shannon Finney/ Getty Images)

The country music queen, Dolly Parton, hand-delivered her one-millionth book from her Imagination Library on this day in 2014.

Dolly Parton grew up one of 12 children to Robert and Avie Lee Parton in a one-room cabin in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. Her mother was part of a cotton farming community and married Robert when she was just 16. Her father similarly was raised in a family of farmers and needed to help with the family’s farm instead of going to school, reports Wide Open Country.

You could say Dolly Parton grew up with humble beginnings.

Dolly Parton’s Humble Beginnings Led to Library

But due to Robert’s constant need to tend to the farm and not be in school, he could not read or write.

According to the Imagination Library’s website, the initiative started as an inspiration by her father. Since Robert Parton was unable to read or write, his chart-topping daughter, Dolly, started the Imagination Library in 1995 for the children within her home county.

Today, her program spans five countries and gifts over 1 million free books each month to children around the world.

“When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true,” stated Parton. “I know there are children in your community 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, and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”

Well, Dolly Parton planted the one-millionth seed on this day in 2014.

Lucky One Million

According to This Day in Country Music, Dolly Parton hand-delivered the particular book from her UK Imagination Library reading initiative to a Liverpool child on June 8, 2014.

The highest-selling country artist gave a Braille copy of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit to a five-year-old named Dylan Manifold while in the city to perform. It was the first book for blind and partially-sighted children the project had supplied in the UK.

The Imagination Library, which runs in the US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and the UK. It has sponsors pay for pre-school children to receive a book every month. Parton originally launched the Library in her home county of Sevier, Tennessee, in 1996.

The Library’s website notes that Dolly Parton and the reading initiative has currently gifted 159,623,797 books. Sheesh!

Children from birth to the age of five are able to receive a free book. In addition, you can register a child you know on the Imagination Library’s website. Happy reading!