The story so far....




2010587_origWhat is the Imagination Library?

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a charity which gives a love of reading to children by delivering a free book to their home every month from birth until the age of five.

This special charity has been giving books to children in parts of Nottingham since 2011. Our ambition now is to raise enough funds to expand across the entire city and help EVERY Nottingham child to benefit.

Where It All Began

In 1995 Dolly Parton launched the Imagination Library in Sevier County, Tennessee. Her vision was to get children to fall in love with reading by giving them a specially selected free book each month from birth until their fifth birthday. By 2000 the scheme was so popular it was rolled out to different communities across the US.

The success of the scheme in the US has shown that the programme improves early childhood literacy. So we know the charity really makes a difference and helps children to do well at school.

The Nottingham Story

The vision of the Imagination Library was first sparked in Nottingham in 2009 by a Teaching Assistant at Fernwood Infant School who raised funds and encouraged people to support the charity.

Momentum gathered when the Rotary Club of Nottingham helped to co-ordinate fundraising which enabled the Imagination Library to be set up in the Nottingham neighbourhood of Bilborough. Nottingham City Council’s Children’s Centres were enrolled to administer the scheme and Health Visitors promoted the scheme to parents.

The scheme was then expanded to Hyson Green, Radford and Dunkirk and Lenton thanks to major funding from Castle Cavendish – a regeneration charity which aims to improve the quality of life for people in Nottingham.5297811_orig

In 2014 Nottingham won a National Lottery bid to support more young children. Headed by Nottingham CityCare partnership, Small Steps Big Changes (SSBC) is a £45m programme of activities and initiatives to give Nottingham’s 0-3 year olds a better start in life. As part of the programme, the Imagination Library is now established in four additional neighbourhoods: Aspley, Arboretum, Bulwell and St Ann’s.

The Future

We’ve expanded the Imagination Library into 3 new wards Dales and Bridge and Wollaton East Lenton Abbey-so we are now in 10 of the 20 wards of the city.  There are over 5,600 children that have been registered and over 347,000 books have been delivered. But we want to do more. We want EVERY under 5-year-old child in the City to be able to receive the books. We need your help to raise the necessary funds to deliver this exciting vision. Together we can give the gift of reading.

Calling all businesses! Can you help?

We’re keen to hear from all organisations looking for ways to help children in Nottingham. If your business wants to make a difference then look no further! We’ve written a quick guide to fundraising for Dolly’s Imagination Library which you can download here. There’s lots of help and advice we can offer you so don’t hesitate to contact us by emailing:   thank you!

PDF Icon Dolly Toolkit (4MB)