Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Kristy Amy (Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library), First Lady Betsy DeWine, Liz Hibbs (ECEA), Eric Taggart (Rodman Public Library), and Doug Schwarz (GAF).

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Comes to 44601

The Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was brought to the attention of our foundation through a community member, Cheryl Paine. We were excited about the potential of the program and directed her to contact Liz Hibbs, Director of the Early Childhood Education Alliance and Eric Taggart, Director of the Rodman Public Library. Through their efforts, our foundation committed to become the fiscal agent for the Imagination Library in our community.

GAF, along with our library and ECEA know that early literacy supports lifelong learners. Collectively, we are thankful for the individuals, businesses and service organizations who have donated to Rodman Public Library’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Fund at GAF. What does this mean to Alliance? Free door to door delivery of age appropriate books to every child living in our area code regardless of their income who are younger than 5. Just enroll!


Where do the books come from?

Dolly Parton, known as song-writer and entertainer is now affectionately called the “Book Lady!”  Dolly did not have books in her childhood home, and her father could not read, but according to Dolly, her father was brilliant. Dolly Parton started this program to inspire a love of reading and she has taken this special literacy program worldwide.

The first book order in 1995 totaled just over 1,700 books for her hometown community. Now, through the Dollywood Foundation, over 100 million free books have been spread across the globe. These books mean something to the children that read them. Children across the globe can be heard saying, “This book is mine and I am going to read it or I am going to get somebody to read it to me!”


How is our Governor and the First Lady involved?



After our community received permission to be a Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library partner, the State of Ohio announced that the program would be available statewide. Eric Taggart, Director of Rodman Public Library said, “We are pleased that the Governor and First Lady have taken such an interest in early childhood literacy, and that they have worked to create the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library. This program strives to make Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library available to every child in Ohio by 2021, and money set aside in the state’s biennium budget is used to help fund these programs, covering 50% of the cost. This is great news, as it allows money donated to our local program to go even further.”

Continuing on, he added, “With the arrival of the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, we are now partnering with the other library systems in Stark County to be part of the Stark Imagination Library.  However, the partnership between the Early Childhood Education Alliance, Rodman Public Library, and the Greater Alliance Foundation remains in effect in order to serve the children of Alliance through this program.”

All money donated to the Greater Alliance Foundation for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will continue to be used to pay for eligible children who live in the Alliance and Marlington School Districts. We are grateful to the organizations and individuals who have helped to support this wonderful program, and we are encouraged to see that the participation is exceeding our expectations.

In fact, nearly 100 children were registered for the program during the month of January, bringing the total number of area children enrolled to 341. Together, with our friends and donors, we shall continue to put books in the bedrooms of every child under the age of 5 and share in Dolly’s excitement for this special literacy project. A $25 donation to GAF will cover the cost of books for a year for one child.

How does it affect our zip code?

341 Alliance Children Enrolled

Like Fawn, a child who resides in Alliance can enroll in our local Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program when they are born and can receive 60 free books by the time they turn five.

Baby Fawn’s mother, Lindsay Simpson recently shared with us, “I really appreciate the program because it encourages a love of reading and books. I believe that it is very important for parents to read to their children. Also, the program makes more books available for everyone in the area, regardless of their financial circumstances. The library is wonderful, but the books must be returned. On the other hand, with this program, the children have their very own books which become a wonderful monthly gift! I also know of other families who love the program and look forward to their children having a personal home library and spending time reading books together.”


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