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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 programme is very beneficial for promoting early childhood literacy and we understand the resources listed below can be beneficial to organisation and individuals alike that are interested in or already participating in our early childhood literacy programme.

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. 

Evaluation of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library for Looked After Children in Scotland September 2015
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) was launched in Scotland in 2011. The aim of the project is to foster a love of reading and to improve accessibility to books among Looked After and Accommodated Children (LAAC) aged 0-5. This is done via the gifting of age appropriate books sent directly to children’s homes. Since the initiative started in August 2011, over 60,500 books have been mailed to looked after children in Scotland.
In June 2015, an evaluation was commissioned to understand the processes involved in implementing and delivering the initiative in Scotland. The evaluation was based on the analysis of telephone interview data from 30 participating Local Authorities, as well as analysis of online, self-completion survey data from 19 authorities.
Executive Summary:

Full Report:

Rotherham Annual Report 2011-2012

In December 2007, Rotherham was the first location in the United Kingdom to adopt Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. Championed by the Leader of the Local Authority and supported by a large number of staff and partner agencies across the borough of Rotherham, this affiliate has made a great impact locally, with over 85% of eligible children enrolled on the programme. They have been tracking and monitoring all their local data since 2008 and are now starting to see the impact on children's communication, language and literacy as they enter school. Have a look at the following, in depth report and feel free to share it as you wish.

Rotherham Report 2011

Recruitment of practitioner researchers: 
A key strand of this project was to support practitioners to undertake research and evaluation of the Imagination Library. Our aim was to raise the profile of and increase the capacity for research and evaluation among practitioners within the Rotherham. From the outset we envisaged working with 10 practitioners from a wide range of organisations involved to a greater or lesser degree with Imagination Library. We liaised with a number of organisations to ensure that practitioners reflected the range of different organisations working with under 5’s in Rotherham, including practitioners working in both health and education. Key routes for recruiting practitioners included: 
  • Children and Young People’s Service at RMBC The Senior Quality Early Years and Childcare Improvement Officer invited practitioners involved in the ECAT scheme to get involved in our study 
  • Imagination Library The Co-ordinator provided details of key stakeholders and brokered access to the PCT clinical team manager in order to recruit health practitioners to the project 
  • Existing contacts via Inspire Rotherham The research team are currently evaluating the Inspire Rotherham initiative and have worked with a number of organisations; this was also a useful recruitment route.

A Report on Fernwood Infant school’s Imagination Library Program

The Imagination Library has proven to be a wonderful opportunity to begin building our relationship with prospective parents.  The whole concept matches the school’s philosophy, encouraging reading as a positive, enjoyable, family experience from the earliest years.  In the future these children will enter school with an already established love of books and enthusiasm for reading.  This will have a positive impact upon future standards of attainment.

Our vision was to:
  • help build children's belief and self esteem
  • enhance families' home literacy environment and to promote more parent/family involvement in early literacy.


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:

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.

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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.