WPC: Faces in the Dolly Parton birthday crowd

Celebrating Dolly Parton's birthday on January 19, this librarian at Lawson McGhee Library reads books from Imagination Library to kids at the party.

Celebrating Dolly Parton’s birthday on January 19, this librarian at Lawson McGhee Library reads books from Imagination Library to kids at the party.

Most of America (well, the world, for that matter) knows Dolly Parton for her hit songs (“Jolene,” “9 to 5,” “I Will Always Love You”) and movies (Coat of Many Colors, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Steel Magnolias).  And maybe you’ve even belted out a few Parton tunes just as we have, imitating this lively lady with a presence as big as her country music voice.

Happy birthday, Dolly!

Happy birthday, Dolly!

Folks in East Tennessee, however, know her for another reason — Dolly sends books to kids ages birth to six free of charge every month through  the Imagination Library, an organization founded in 1995.   To celebrate the dedication of the 1oo millionth book, Dolly herself will hand over the book to the Library of Congress on February 27, 2018. (You can watch it live beginning at 10 a.m. streaming on YouTube and Facebook.)

Imagination Library has donated 100 million books to kids, thanks to Dolly Parton and a host of volunteers.

Imagination Library has donated 100 million books to kids, thanks to Dolly Parton and a host of volunteers.

In Knoxville, kids and parents celebrated the singer’s 72nd birthday in January at Lawson McGhee Library and area branches.  Kids poured in to listen to books read by librarians and to sing “Happy Birthday” to the lady who had put books in their mailboxes month after month.

Faces in the crowd told most of the story.  Whether sitting cross-legged on the floor or waving a noisemaker or coloring Happy Birthday pages, kids celebrated the lady with big blonde hair and and an even bigger heart.

Dolly loves music, performing and giving away books.  But we have a feeling it’s really the faces in the crowd that Dolly loves most.  After all, they’re the future singers, performers and readers who want to be just like Dolly!

For more information, click on these links:

For more faces in the crowd photos, check out the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Faces in the Crowd.  


About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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16 Responses to WPC: Faces in the Dolly Parton birthday crowd

  1. Fast Pam says:

    I Love Dolly and this initiative! Last year in Denver, we went to a “Grilled Cheese Festival” for the Imagination Library!

    • A Grilled Cheese Festival sounds awesome! We have fundraisers here, too, since we have to raise a lot of money for so many books. Ours has a circus theme, “Under the Big Top” and decorations are always fun to see. Best wishes for ushering in spring in your area!

  2. How absolutely wonderful. All these years she has been in the spotlight, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything negative about her. She’s done some wonderful things! 😁

  3. Wonderful, I never knew anything about this.

    • It’s funny, but I’ve gotten several comments to that effect. She is known for her singing and acting her, but we all love her for the Imagination Library. Today is the day she presents the 100 millionth book to Library of Congress. Quite an operation, of course!

  4. I had no idea that Dolly Parton was involved in such an impressive initiative! Interesting to read about and see all those kids get motivated to read, and to read often. I bet they get super excited each time their book arrives in the mailbox. What a clever way to encourage reading and associate it with fun and excitement! Bravo.


    • Dolly has a heart as big as a lot of her other parts, I guess! She’s always lending a hand to one cause or another. When Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Mountains was heavily fire-damaged, she held a concert to raise millions for relief. She an impressive person, for sure. And besides that, she sings rather well, too!

  5. Pingback: A Face in the Crowd – An Alley – What's (in) the picture?

  6. A good story, Rusha. Impressive. I wasn’t aware of Dolly’s work with reading. Thanks for sharing. –Curt

    • Thanks for taking a look, Curt. We’re pretty proud of Dolly’s emphasis on reading, especially with young children. I’m involved in a very small way with fundraising for her Imagination Library, but our volunteers at the library work hard to keep this operation afloat. It’s a good cause. And she’s a good person. Proud to have her in East Tennessee!

  7. Martha Gill says:

    The faces are luminous.

    • You’re so right. Little kids really look forward to receiving their books each month. And Dolly’s heart is big. She gets on board to sing to raise money for various causes quite often. Thanks for taking a look.

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