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Share The Gift Of Reading With Your Children: Registration For Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Opens May 2

Image: Dolly Parton Imagination Library
Dolly Parton reads to children at the Library of Congress in 2021. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library distributes more than 1.3 million books free of cost to children around the world.

Robert Moore
Herald Staff

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails free books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income. Registration for Mercer County families to join the Imagination Library opens Monday, May 2. Families can register online at

They can also register at the Mercer County Public Library (109 West Lexington Street). Registration forms will also be available at the Mercer County Cooperative Extension Office, Whitaker Bank and other sites throughout the county. For a complete listing of registration sites, call the Mercer County Public Library at 859-734-3680.

Dolly Parton launched the Imagination Library in 1995 in Sevier County, Tennessee, as a tribute to her father, who she called “the smartest man I have ever known.” Robert Lee Parton Sr. was an illiterate sharecropper who valued education, making sure all 12 of his children—including his fourth daughter, Dolly, who would go on to be one of the biggest stars in the world—knew how to read.

Since then, the Imagination Library has spread across Tennessee and to neighboring states, and beyond the United States to the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the Republic of Ireland. By 2021, the Imagination Library had given away more than 150 million books.

Now the program is available locally. Beginning May 2, as part of the observance of National Children’s Book Week, registration will officially open in Mercer County.

The state government is providing 50 percent of the funding for the program through the next two years. Mercer County will be responsible for rest.

“The real heroes of our story are the thousands of local organizations who have embraced my dream and made it their own,” Dolly Parton said on the Imagination Library website. “They raise millions of dollars each year and wake up every day with a passion to make sure their kids have every opportunity to succeed.”

If you or your organization are interested in becoming one of Dolly’s heroes, contact Georgianna Bray at 859-733-7040 or Rita McIntyre at 859-734-3316.

The Mercer County Public Library (109 West Lexington Street) is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and other programs visit their website at or call 859-734-3680.

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