Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Republic of Ireland
Our Book Gifting Programme
The programme was introduced in the Republic of Ireland in early 2019 making it the fifth country to adopt Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Now, registered children can receive a book a month addressed to them, at no cost to the family. The books are hand-selected by the Gold Medal Book Selection Committee. Each title is chosen to meet the growing needs of the child at the pivotal stages of development.
“The Little Engine That Could™” by Watty Piper is the official Welcome Book and the first book sent to children in the Republic of Ireland. If a child is registered in the programme at birth, by the time they turn five and graduate from the programme, they will have amassed a collection of 60 books. The Committee selected “The Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde as the Graduation Book which serves as the last book the child will receive as they prepare for school and the next chapter of their learning journey.
How It Works
Each month, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails a high-quality, age-appropriate book to all registered children, addressed to them, at no cost to the child’s family. Countless parents have shared how excited their child is when their new book arrives each month. Many groups and individuals work hard behind the scenes to make that special moment possible for each child.
The Imagination Library provides the infrastructure of the core programme including managing the secure central database for the Book Order System and coordinating book selections and wholesale purchasing. It also incurs the cost of the programme’s administrative expenses and coordinates the monthly mailings.
Local Programme Partners
Local Programme Partners help bring the Imagination Library to cities, towns and communities internationally. Local Programme Partners can be businesses, local authorities, small or large organisations, or simply individuals who share in the mission and purpose of the Imagination Library
Local Programme Partners are responsible for enrolling children who live within the geographical area they offer the programme in. They promote their local programmes online and at events. Books are 100% free to enrolled children because their Local Programme Partner has secured funds to cover the cost of the books and a contribution towards freight costs.
Becoming an Imagination Library Local Programme Partner in 3 Steps:
Step 1: Figuring out ‘Do I want to do this?
I’m interested in starting a programme for children in my community.
Check to see if the Imagination Library is already offered in your community here.
Imagination Library isn’t currently supported in my community. What do I need to consider to get started?
You will need to identify financial support to sustainably cover the wholesale cost of the books and a contribution towards freight costs.
- Partner with local charities or community groups/organisations.
How much funding do I need?
- Decide on the geographical area you think you would like to cover – such as a county, city, or Eircode(s).
- Get the 0-5 population from a census website. Try Central Statistics Office.
- Enter the 0-5 population into the Cost Estimator on our website.
Common financial supporters:
- Service Clubs (e.g. Rotary)
- Local foundations
- Local businesses
- Chambers of Commerce
- Individual donors
Where do I find a local partner?
- Local foundations
- Community Foundation
- Starting your own
Step 2: Putting the pieces in place.
1. Contact the Dollywood Foundation Regional Director that covers your area
Contact your Regional Director
- Let them know your intentions
- Ask any questions
- Get our Memorandum of Agreement and Local Programme Partner Information Sheet – the two documents that we’ll put in place to outline our relationship and capture key information.
2. Begin building a support team.
Key roles you should consider:
- Chairperson – a person to coordinate the effort
- Fundraising – to sustainably identify and collect local funds
- Enrolment – plan where and how to enrol children, oversee registration brochure distribution (if using) and marketing campaigns
- Data Coordinator – entering new registrations, accepting pending online registrations, updating addresses, utilising reports in the Book Order System (BOS)
- Community Outreach – collaborate with other local organisations and coalitions.
- Family Engagement – plans efforts to encourage parents to better engage their children through DPIL books and read more often.
- *TIP – Also consider engaging other community partners to build coalitions and collective impact strategies. Ask your Regional Director for help with ideas and information.
3. Get Fundraising effort underway.
- Engage your support team for contacts
- Consider putting together an advisory council to assist.
- Identify potential funding partners and begin meeting with them.
- *TIP – At this point you should have a good plan outlined: an idea of the funds you will need, community details/facts and partners who are willing to help – this will all help make your ask more clear and direct.
4. Complete and Submit Partnership Docs
- Return completed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and Local Programme Partner Information Sheet (LPPIS) to your Regional Director
Step 3: Make final preparations and launch!
Receive your Book Order System login information and operations manual.
You may now enter registrations into the BOS. Email us to switch to Operating status when you are ready to begin accepting online registrations and start mailing books!
Think about planning a launch event to build awareness and excitement
Utilise available resources:
- Promotional materials
- Regional Director
- Imagination Library network