For immediate release | April 20, 2023

Dolly Parton Awarded Honorary Membership in the American Library Association

CHICAGO — 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.

In addition to the honorary membership, Parton has joined the Celebrity READ® Campaign, featuring a new poster in which she holds The Little Engine That Could and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Readers can place an order for Dolly’s poster online at the ALA Store.

ALA is slated to officially confer the honorary membership upon Parton this June during its Annual Conference in Chicago.

For more information, visit


The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has gifted over 200 million free books in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland. The Imagination Library mails more than 2 million high-quality, age-appropriate books each month to enrolled children from birth to age five. Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading and inspiring children to Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More®.

The impact of the program has been widely researched and results suggest positive increases in key early childhood literacy metrics. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information, please visit


Raymond Garcia

Communications Specialist

Communication & Marketing Office