Our HistoryFrom Dolly Parton to Ashe County
In 1995, Dolly Parton founded the Imagination Library to provide free, high-quality books to preschool children, regardless of their family’s income. Established in Sevier County, Tennessee, the program became such a success that a national replication effort was underway five years later, and by 2003 Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library had mailed one million books.
Imagination Ashe was established in 2006 as a fully accredited affiliate of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Soon, 225 preschool children in Ashe County were registered in the program, and these preschoolers received their first free books from Imagination Ashe in January 2007. Since then, Imagination Ashe enrollment has more than tripled.
Since its founding, Imagination Ashe has relied on the local community for financial support, as the program receives no funding from the Dolly Parton Foundation. All donations go directly to the purchase of books, promotion of the project, and community education about the importance of early childhood literacy. Thanks to the generosity and concern of numerous local individuals, civic organizations, and businesses, Imagination Ashe has been able to provide over 100,000 books as free gifts to Ashe County preschool children over the last 18 years.