Dolly Parton's Imagination Library of Knox County mails one new, age-appropriate book each month to any Knox County child from birth until age five at no cost to the family.
Imagination Library books arrive in the child's name and are theirs to keep, read, and enjoy. We welcome every child from birth to age 5 in every Knox County family to participate. We encourage parents to enroll siblings so that each child can receive his or her own book in the mail.
Imagination Library is supported by our community—by foundations, corporations, grants, and individual donors like you! Consider making a donation today to help us grow Knox County's future readers.
Books are paid for by a variety of donations from foundations, corporations, grants and donors like you!
Knox County Imagination Library is administered through Knox County Public Library. Our local Board of Advisors raises funds for half the cost of books and mailing ($250,000 annually), promotes the program and registers children.
The Governor's Early Literacy Foundation covers the other half of books and mailing in all 95 Tennessee counties, and it serves local organizers by providing fundraising, public relations, and other support.
The Dollywood Foundation manages operational details of the program in over 1,200 communities, including book selection for the Library, price negotiation, and distribution logistics.
Dolly Parton knows that reading to young children is the best way to prepare them for school and for life. That's why she started the Imagination Library. In 1996, she began sending books in the mail to the young children of Sevier County regardless of their family's income. Since then, she and The Governor's Books from Birth Foundation have expanded the program to the entire state of Tennessee. In Knox County, we're very proud that more than 19,000 children look forward to receiving their book every month. That's 73% of eligible children in Knox County!
Step 1: Register
Parents/guardians can register each child under age five in their household. Registering online is the easiest and quickest way to enroll, or you may complete a paper registration form and return it by mail Forms are available for download in English or Spanish. You can also register at any Knox County Public Library location, or by calling 865-215-8743.
Step 2. Read
Reading with your child every day is one of the best ways to prepare him for success in school and in life. Your child's first book will arrive in 8-10 weeks. After the initial wait, your child will receive one book every month until he or she turns 5!
Step 3: Keep Your Address UpdatedParents must update their address each time they move. Books are not forwarded automatically by the post office. To update your address, use the Parent Login link on the Imagination Library website. You can also call 865-215-8743 or email email@example.com to keep us posted with your most up-to-date contact information.
- Bonny Naugher, Chair
- Lindsey Boyd
- Trevor Brown
- Mary Pom Claiborne
- Jessica Doppelt
- Lyle Edixon
- Abby Ham
- Renee Hauge
- Lila Honaker
- Dr. Joe Johnson*
- Dr. Lisa Herron Oros
- Corey Hodge
- Beth Lackey
- Anabel Lino
- Valerie Somerville
- Paige Travis
- Tom Young
*Honorary Lifetime Board Member
Ex Officio Member: Kay Hurst, Imagination Library Coordinator
Studies show the impact that early exposure to books has on brain development. Through books, children learn about the world around them, shapes and colors, and letter recognition. They also learn to use their imaginations and to form stories and narratives that help them make sense of their young lives. But maybe the most important thing they learn while reading with their parents or caretakers is that they are valued and loved. When a child is read to, there’s a lot more going on than the important task of learning. Quiet time with a loved one creates a sense of belonging that lasts forever.
The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation authored a comprehensive analysis of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library in Tennessee. Three themes that emerged from the report were:
1) Children’s excitement upon receiving books
2) Expanded home literacy practices
3) Positive changes in the way parents spent time with their children
Read the study here:
If you have questions about your child's account, registration or address please contact Imagination Library Administrative Assistant, at 865-215-8743 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
If you need to reach us by mail, you can send it to our office:
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library of Knox County
500 W. Church Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37902
We welcome you or your organization to join our community of people dedicated to early literacy! We are happy to send you brochures that you may distribute or use to enroll the children of Knox County in Imagination Library. To request brochures please e-mail email@example.com (link sends e-mail) or call (865) 215-8784.