Honorary Membership

About the Honorary Membership
Honorary membership may be conferred on a living citizen of any country whose contribution to librarianship or a closely related field is so outstanding that it is of lasting importance to the advancement of the whole field of library service. It is intended to reflect honor upon the ALA as well as upon the individual.

Administered by:

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2023 Winner(s)

Dolly Parton

Music legend and cultural icon Dolly Parton elected to honorary membership

The American Library Association (ALA) is set to confer an honorary lifetime membership upon award-winning singer-songwriter, actress, businesswoman and philanthropist Dolly Parton for her longstanding support and commitment to inspiring a love of books and reading. Recommended by the ALA Executive Board and elected by the ALA Council, honorary membership is the highest honor given by the Association and conferred upon a living person whose outstanding contributions have made a lasting impact on librarianship, libraries, and the communities they serve.

“ALA is proud to bestow this well-deserving honor upon Dolly Parton in recognition of her accomplishments in the world of libraries, learning and literacy,” said ALA President Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada. “Her Imagination Library initiative, which was inspired by her father’s inability to read or write, was launched to foster an early love of reading and learning in her hometown of Sevier Co., TN.  Today this high-quality, book-gifting program reaches millions of children in five countries and is a shining example of her commitment to early childhood literacy and ensuring access to books for all children, which speaks to the core values of our organization.”

Parton, who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, considers her Imagination Library initiative as one of her greatest achievements. Dolly’s Imagination Library mails free, high-quality, age-appropriate books to children from birth until age five—no matter their family’s income. In 2022, one out of ten children under the age of five in the U.S. received an Imagination Library book from Dolly each month, equating to more than 2 million books delivered globally per month.