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Dolly Parton's Imagination Library - Year In Review - Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

dolly parton meet and greet liverpool

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During the year a number of milestones were achieved. These partnerships powered the growth of participating communities in and they will continue to anchor the expansion of the program for years to come. A major priority is to replicate the statewide, universal programs of Tennessee and the Yukon Territories. Major strides were made toward this goal in Alaska, Georgia and West Virginia. The race is on to see who will join this very special group.

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There were a number of major media pieces about the Imagination Library. In Canada, the documentary The Book Lady aired nationally and will join the rotation for in-flight movie options for Air Canada in the spring of In November, a national television feature on Dolly was broadcast throughout the United Kingdom which stressed the connection between her spiritual beliefs and her commitment to inspire children.

After months of review and consultation with community sponsors and parents, a decision was made to introduce soft cover books for the older age groups in the Imagination Library. A year that began with trepidation ended with gratitude. We are thankful that so many people never wavered in their commitment to children, thankful for the collective wisdom to take some chances in order to insure the continuation of this effort….

Another communities joined the effort, pushing the total number of participating communities to and the total number of children toin three countries. Inalmost 5. While the numbers are impressive the people are even more so. There really is no way to accurately count all of the thousands of local volunteers working hard every day to fund the effort, register the kids, manage the database, collect the books and promote strategies to better prepare their children for a life full of learning.

Is it 10, ororpeople? In Tennessee, the program serves every child under five years of age. Other states are moving toward this impressive level of coverage. In the United Kingdom, an entirely new operation was established—new books, new mail service, new post office and a new director was hired to lead the effort.

In all, over 6, children were enrolled and verbal commitments were reached with four additional communities to launch in The Tennessee Board of Regents released a study which asked kindergarten and pre-kindergarten teachers to rate children on several learning attributes.

This homegrown effort has now grown into a substantial international program that utilizes a sophisticated database, three mailing services, two publishers, three postal systems and a thousand different local partnerships to do what was once only dreamt — to make sure every child has the opportunity to love books and to love reading.

The film rarely mentions what should be learned but instead captures what moves people, what inspires people and what people love to do. Dolly had ventured to London to announce that her Imagination Library would now be available to communities throughout the United Kingdom. In a very real sense, every leader and every child in every community that has launched the Imagination Library, stood with her that day.

Obviously, any success of today is built upon all of the achievements which have come before it. Take a look at the following highlights: At the close of the year, communities in 43 states, the District of Columbia, 6 Canadian provinces, and 1 Canadian territory participated in the program. Currentlychildren receive a book each and every month.

Injust under 4. In and ina total of 7. A new feature to allow families to register via the website produced almost 24, registrations via on-line access.

Over folks from the U. The much feared postal increase levied by the USPS was kept to a manageable amount cents per child per month and it triggered a process to reformat all of the books to retain their quality but meet the new flexibility standards. A new partnership with national United Way produced reading tips for families in four of the books. The tips are designed to follow the development of the child, beginning with general reading tips in the first book and then moving to tips for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

The Dollywood Foundation of Canada and Invest in Kids finalized an official partnership to staff and promote their mutual interests throughout Canada. These are all grand achievements, but in the end there is no better way to communicate the many endeavors of than through the words of a mother.

These daily expressions of gratitude and commendation pour into the hearts of the thousands of individuals who work diligently to initiate and sustain the Imagination Library. Here is such an expression of joy from a letter sent by a parent to a local sponsor: Just the other day our younger son received his monthly book and today another book arrived for my older son.

Although The Dollywood Foundation of Canada will coordinate the program, an agreement was reached with the Canadian-based organization, Invest in Kids, to help bring the Imagination Library to as many Canadian preschoolers as possible.

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The press coverage for the event was superb and the level of excitement was downright inspiring so we look forward to working with our Canadian family. During the summer, the 95th, and last, county in Tennessee came on board with the Imagination Library. For the first time, a family could move from one end of a state to another and still have access to the Imagination Library.

Other states showed interest in the program. On the operational front, there were several notable accomplishments. In January, for the first time, each and every book was protected by a polybag covering.

In addition, some 35 books were re-sized so they would all fit easily into a standard mailbox. These new formats will begin arriving in homes in early Also arriving in will be four books that contain reading tips for families. Three of the books were brought to life as theatrical productions. It marked the first time we have collaborated with her to sell a product online and given the response, it will not be the last time either! And for the first time, the total number of books distributed soared over three million for Since the inception of the program, now over seven million books have been mailed to children.

Success is never achieved alone. The success of this year is solely dependent upon the hundreds of local organizations and thousands of people who want the same thing for their children. So, be it a United Way, a civic organization, a library, a school, a school system or one of the many educationally oriented non-profits that enrich our lives, our success is your success… and for that we remain eternally thankful.

It was another year of exponential growth. The number of communities soared from to and the total number of books given for the year virtually doubled to 1. In December of the total number of children enrolled in the program crossed thethreshold and now sits right atHowever as impressive as the numbers appear, it is the stories behind those numbers that truly measure the depth of the Imagination Library.

For starters, those communities represent thousands of local organizations who, in turn, represent tens of thousands of donors and supporters. Inwe saw more local school systems and civic organizations come on board as sponsors. The United Way continued to be an important part of our network as they connected the Imagination Library to local businesses, Chambers of Commerce, Success by 6 strategies, and the educational community.

They worked with private and public leaders in every single county in the state. Now consider the 1. With every book there was a person who handed out a registration form and who entered the information into the database. Each month, an entirely different network of folks that spanned the entire world printed the books, shipped them, sorted them, labeled them, carried them in the mail trucks, and placed the book in the mail box.

And at the end ofanother wonderful feature was added — each book will now arrive in its very own clear polybag in order to better protect this precious cargo. Every book also represents all of the time and effort invested by a small group of experts who for every book selected considered another half a dozen possible alternatives.

Three of the books, with the help of Penguin Group USA, were turned into theatrical productions that were unveiled during the summer at Dollywood. Yet the one story that remains central to the work is the story that now unfoldstimes each month — a moment of promise and discovery. On this day, the state of Tennessee announced it was joining forces with Dolly to provide the Imagination Library to every child under 5 in the entire state.

Just think, for the first time a state guaranteed that every child within its borders will have access to quality books and the joy they inspire. It was indeed a landmark day but probably just a hint of what we can expect down the road.

During discussions about a statewide Imagination Library were launched in half a dozen states. The number of participating communities continued to soar. In December, for the first time ever, the number of children receiving books each month surpassedand brought the yearly total of books toThe magnitude of this growth can be better understood when one considers this — just four short years ago the Foundation and its partners mailed 74, books and today we mail more than that each month!

As the year drew to a close, the new database system was launched creating a much easier way to enter children into the database.

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As a result, communities continue to pay for only the cost of the book and its mailing. It seems economic forces usually conspire to only increase cost so it is gratifying to know that the annual cost of the Library is still the same as it was 4 years ago. In communities the business, philanthropic, educational, and government leaders have summoned the will and the resources to make this happen for their children. They have also created companion programs, inspired new communities, led the discussions for statewide replication and affirmed the impact of the Library through their own surveys.

A summary of these surveys was released in December.


Dolly and her Foundation family have much to celebrate. Perhaps the most compelling summary of the year was best expressed by a parent in a letter to her local community champion. Words, ironically, cannot express what a remarkable gift you have given us. It was such a treat to see all of these folks gathered together.

They came from all over the country and represented businesses, schools, United Ways, civic organizations, Chamber of Commerce, Parents as Teachers, education foundations and government.

A diverse group indeed but tied together by their commitment to instill in every child a love for reading. The number of children receiving books each month 63, was more than twice the number at the end of and the same doubling held true for the total number of books distributed for the entire year.

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Dolly proudly presented a little girl from Alabama with the one millionth book, a milestone for the program that symbolized not only what has been accomplished but also the promise of even more significant accomplishments to come.

In the last two years approximatelybooks have been mailed to children but in over 1. Now that is some rate of growth. As successful as has been, we all share the belief that we have just barely scratched the surface. Ahead of us lies many exciting possibilities: In the end, however, it all comes back to books and children.

The Imagination Library continues to offer books of the highest quality. Wonderful books are made even better by our commitment to customize and personalize the titles as much as practical. Consequently we have bi-lingual books, letters from Dolly in the books, reading tips for parents in some of the books, personalized mailing labels and the ability to add special messages.

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Smiles, handshakes and hugs were all in order because Dolly announced to the press that her Imagination Library would join forces with all of these organizations to provide a book each month to preschoolers in 92 Native American communities.

This announcement capped off an exciting year of growth for the Imagination Library. At the end of year, there were communities committed to the Library and for the first time, the actual number of children receiving a book each month exceeded 30,! The story behind those 30, smiles took several interesting twists and turns. In September, under the leadership of the Sioux Empire United Way, 10 United Ways in South Dakota joined together to launch an effort to eventually provide the Imagination Library to every child in the their state.

In Georgia, The Ferst Books Foundation grew to 8 communities and continued their journey to provide the books to every child in Georgia. These statewide developments were hopefully just the beginning of many more to come.

On the national level, the sponsorship from the Bureau of Indian Affairs marked a new partnership with the federal government. Once again, there is hope that this precedent setting partnership will inspire other federally funded efforts.

Local sponsors continued to come in many shapes and sizes. In addition to the dozens of United Ways that jumped on board, several local school districts adopted the program. They joined local education foundations, community foundations, civic groups, non-profits, businesses and Chambers of Commerce who all decided to give their children a very special gift.

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Several decisions made in will turn into a reality in Bi-lingual books will be added to the Library as well as a couple of special editions where reading tips for parents will be printed in the books. Since her debut, she has released 42 studio albums and become one of the most beloved and successful country singers the world has ever known. So much so that she was featuring on local television and radio by the time she was ten, a mere two years after she'd gotten her first guitar.

She continued performing at every chance she got and the moment that she graduated from high school, she moved out and relocated to her native state's capital Nashville to pursue a genuine career in music. Even when she was at such a young age, her first major success came as a songwriter, after she signed a deal Combine Publishing and wrote a number of hits for artists like Hank Williams Jr, and Skeeter Davis with her uncle Bill Owens.

However, behind the scenes was never going to be enough for Parton. In she signed a record deal proper with Monument records, the problem was the she was pitched to the label as a bubblegum pop singer when she really wanted to make country music.

As a result of this, Parton's label relented and allowed her to make country records from then on. Most notably attracting the attention of country veteran Porter Wagoner, who gave her an enormous leg up by featuring her regularly on his TV show and securing her a record deal with his label RCA.

dolly parton meet and greet liverpool

Ever since then, Parton has become arguably the most iconic country musician since Johnny Cash, with a back catalogue to rival any iconic artist from any era and the name recognition to draw a crowd of over a hundred thousand people to her concert at the Glastonbury festival, half a century after beginning her journey in music.

She remains at the top of her game, and she comes highly recommended. Live reviews Dolly Parton Many living legends have found their way onto the stage at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, but very few have been able to compete with the natural spectacle of the venue.