Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, United Kingdom
Our Book Gifting Programme
In December 2007, Dolly Parton travelled to London to announce that her Imagination Library was launching in the UK!
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting programme devoted to inspiring a love of reading in the hearts of children everywhere. With help from our local partners, the first Imagination Library book was gifted in the UK in 2008 and we’ve grown every year since then, reaching more and more children each month.
The books are carefully selected, and full of variety. They include traditional stories and rhymes, books by beloved authors and illustrators, non-fiction content, and newly published titles.
How It Works
Each month we post a high quality, age appropriate book to children from birth to age five. The books are specially wrapped and addressed to the child, and are delivered at no cost to the family.
The Dollywood Foundation works with Local Partners who help bring the Imagination Library to communities across the UK.
The Dollywood Foundation funds and provides the infrastructure of the core programme including coordinating book selection, wholesale purchasing and managing the secure Book Order System database. Our Local Partners are responsible for enrolling children who live within their area and securing funds to cover the costs of the books, postage and packing for those children.
Bring the Imagination Library to your Community
Local Partners can be businesses, local authorities, small or large organizations, or simply individuals who share our vision to inspire a love of books and reading.
If you’re ready to help support an Imagination Library in your local area you can find out more about becoming a Local Partner by speaking to The Dollywood Foundation’s Regional Directors. To get in touch please submit an enquiry through our “Start a Programme” form.
Becoming a Local Imagination Library Program Partner in 3 Steps:
Step 1: Figuring out ‘Do I want to do this?
I’m interested in starting a program for children in my community.
Check to see if the Imagination Library is already offered in your community.
The 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 mailing. This is approximately £26 per child per year for 12 books.
- Working with partners:
Is there an organisation already in your community you can partner with to help? You could, for instance, get help from a local charity, children’s centre, library, nursery, church, housing association, or the local authority.
How much funding do I need?
- Decide on the community you think you would like to cover – such as post code(s), school catchment area, town, city or county.
- Get the 0-5 population from a census or population statistics website, such as the Office of National Statistics (www.ons.gov.uk). We can help with this.
- Enter the 0-5 population into the Cost Estimator on our website.
Common financial supporters:
- Clubs such as Rotary, Lions, etc.
- Local trusts and foundations
- Local businesses
- Chambers of Commerce
- Individual donors
Step 2: Putting the pieces in place.
1. Contact the DWF Regional Director that covers your area
Contact your local Regional Director:
Central & Southern England, Wales – Helen Hastle – [email protected]
Scotland – Kirsty Hill – [email protected]
North England and Northern Ireland – Meg Fletcher – [email protected]
- Let them know you are interested in bringing the Imagination Library to your community
- Ask any questions
- Get our Memorandum of Agreement and 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 identify and secure local sustainable funds
- Enrollment – plan where and how to enrol children, oversee registration brochure distribution (if using) and marketing campaigns
- Database – 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. Also may collect undeliverable books from local post office
- 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.
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 Partner Information Sheet (AIS) 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 registrations and start mailing books!
Think about planning a launch event to build awareness and excitement
Utilise available resources:
- Promotional materials
- Regional Directors
- Imagination Library network
Find out how Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is inspiring a love of reading across the UK!
Learn more about some of our local programmes here: