A banner image featuring the imagination library logo and Dolly Parton smiling at the camera. Text: The Library that Dolly Built. Worldwide Premiere December 9 @ 7PM Eastern.

“The Library That Dolly Built”: Learn and Give This Week

You’ve probably heard of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which sends kids around the world a new book every month. But do you know how it’s made possible? That’s the focus of the new documentary, “The Library That Dolly Built”, which premieres Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. on Facebook.

Watch the movie premiere on your Library’s Facebook page or Imagination Library’s Facebook page. You can RSVP and sign up to receive a reminder for the online event, which will also feature a live performance and Q&A session with Dolly herself.

Imagination Library Relies on Local Support

Washington County Imagination Library is holding a fundraiser in tandem with the movie premiere. You can donate to our local Imagination Library here. Your donations directly impact kids in our own community, giving them a head start in reading.

In Washington County alone, 762,714 books have been delivered to children since the program started here in 2006. There are currently 5,250 Washington County kids who receive a book every month through Imagination Library!

Unfortunately, 2020 has taken its toll on our local Imagination Library. “Due to the pandemic, we lost a good amount of funding this fiscal year,” says Washington County Coordinator Cathy Griffith. “Many people think that Dolly pays for all of the books herself, but the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) pays half the cost for each county in Tennessee and we, as the local Imagination Library affiliate, have to raise the rest of the money.” In Washington County, the total yearly cost of the program is nearly $128,000.

Books for Every Child

Because of funding from Dolly Parton, GELF, and generous donations, Imagination Library has been able to give children almost 150 million books since it began in 1995. Imagination Library partners with local communities like ours to make sure that every child has a chance to read, learn, and grow, regardless of economic status.

To give our kids a head start going into kindergarten, Griffith encourages families to sign up every child from birth to age 5 for Imagination Library. Families with multiple eligible children should sign each up separately, as Imagination Library provides age-appropriate books to kids as they develop new reading skills.

Along with literacy help, Imagination Library benefits kids in other ways. “The Imagination Library gives all kids the same reading history, so when they go to school, they have something to connect over. Plus, it’s exciting for kids to go out to the mailbox and see a book with their name on it,” says Griffith.

Check to see if your children are eligible for Imagination Library via its website. To receive updates from our local affiliate, follow Washington County Imagination Library on Facebook.


Learn more about what Johnson City Public Library offers for kids and families by visiting our youth services page or calling (423) 434-4458. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for daily updates on Library happenings.

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