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The following information is a list of resources compiled by multiple parties. The Dollywood Foundation and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library feel these studies show that this wonderful program is very beneficial for promoting early childhood literacy and we understand the resources listed below can be beneficial to organization and individuals alike that are interested in or already participating in our early childhood literacy program.

We encourage you to have a look around and share the information as you wish. Should you know of any additional, reputable resources that you would like to share, you may do so by contacting the Regional Director for your area. If you are unsure of who your Regional Director is, you can find that information by visiting the Find My Affiliate area. 


Imagination Library Program, Canada Evaluation Considerations and Conclusions

There are several issues to be considered in terms of strengthening the program, and making it more inclusive:
  • Having a clearly designated coordinator of the program in each community
  • Working with Imagination Library to include culturally relevant books
  • Streamlining communication between Invest in Kids, Provincial government, FNESC and MNBC

Imagination Library- Research:

When Dolly first launched the Imagination Library in her hometown, no one really gave much thought to researching the programs impact on children and families. The reason was quite simple – the incredible number of stories shared by parents was more than enough evidence to affirm the impact of the program. Moreover, Dolly was paying for it so if she believed, then so be it! However over the last 10 years, as the program grew from one small county in east Tennessee to being supported locally in almost 2,000 communities in three countries, the need for additional research grew as well. The challenge has been and will always be how to assess impact without overreaching or falling short of a realistic research objective.


Other Resources of Interest:

A Report on Hawai‘i’s Imagination Library Program

By all accounts, the data suggests that participation in IL has made a dramatic difference in the frequency of reading to children in the families receiving the IL books.
  • Before receiving IL books, 51.7% of the respondents reported reading to their child once a day or more (26.5% more than once a day, 25.2% once a day). After receiving IL books, this percentage increased to 81.3% (49.4% of the families reported reading more than once a day and 31.9% reading once a day). 
  • Seventy-seven percent of the families who read to their child several times a week before receiving IL books increased their reading frequency to either once a day or more than once a day.  
  • Of the families who read to their child once a day before receiving IL books, 96.8% increased their reading frequency to more than once a day.  
  • Of the families who read to their child just once a week before receiving IL books, 98% increased their reading frequency after participating in IL. Fifty-two percent of the respondents increased their reading to at least once a day and 46% increased to several times a week.
  • Reading frequency increased with all age groups of children: birth-11 months, 12-23 months, 24-35 months, 36-47 months, 48-59 months, and 60+ months (see figures 2-8):
Download Full Article  
Tennessee Board of Regents Findings
  • Teachers believed that Dolly’s Imagination Library participants enjoyed learning new stories more than non-participants – especially at the pre-kindergarten level – and that the Imagination Library fostered creativity.
  • Open-ended comments were highly positive: Teachers applauded the fact that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library provides books to children who might not otherwise be able to own any books, and that the books were useful classroom learning tools.
  • Some teachers thought that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library would be even more effective if parents and communities would take full advantage of it.
  • Experienced teachers agreed that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has aided preparation for pre- K and kindergarten.
  • Although survey responses could not be controlled for extraneous factors in early childhood development such as intervention from other programs (i.e., Voluntary Pre-K for All or Head Start), student backgrounds, or number of years enrolled in the Imagination Library, the survey still allows for understanding the probable effects of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library participation on literacy and early childhood learning as an aggregate.
  • As more Tennessee children are enrolled in the Imagination Library at the earliest possible opportunity (ideally at birth), the abilities gained from participating in the program –as already apparent in these 2007 charts– will be ever more noticeable.

Download Full Article
Various Grants Available for Non-Profits

This comprehensive list of potentially available grants for champions of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library was researched and compiled by Scott Peterson and Global Youth Justice. Click to view Scott's list of available non-profit grants found.