AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – American Icon Dolly Parton celebrated her 76th birthday on Wednesday. While often discussed in connection to her work in entertainment or her home state of Tennessee, Parton is also connected to the High Plains through one of her largest and longest-running humanitarian projects.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, as described on its website, has worked to mail free, “high-quality” books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income. After it launched in 1995, the program had mailed one million books by 2003 and saw expansion across the US, as well as into Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Republic of Ireland. In 2020, the program gifted its 150 millionth book.
The Imagination Library program has been operating on the High Plains in Potter and Randall Counties, through a partnership with the local nonprofit Storybridge. According to Storybridge, it pays the cost of the books that are mailed out to local children enrolled in the program each month.
According to Storybridge, parents can enroll children in the Imagination Library program online or by mailing a printable form according to given instructions. Applications to the program and further information can be found here.
Storybridge also noted that it is raising funds in order to expand the reach of the program to other areas of the Texas Panhandle. Donations to the program can be made here.
Elsewhere in the High Plains, the Herzstein Memorial Museum has partnered with the Imagination Library program in Dallam County, Texas, and Union County, N.M. Those interested in applying to the program in that area can do so here.
Storybridge has also continued to operate projects such as its Free Book Fairs program, Little Free Libraries, and Born to Read 806. More information can be found here on the assorted programs, partnered area schools, and ways to help the nonprofit.