January 18, 2019 • #GirlBoss, GOOD WORKS

Meet Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton is arguably one of the most influential and generous women in the world. And her nonprofit program, Imagination Library, is near and dear to our heart.

For those unfamiliar, Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free books to children from birth until they begin school in participating areas. Started in 1995, the program has grown from providing books to children in Sevier County, Tennessee (where Dolly grew up) to sending over one million books a month to children across the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

In honor of Dolly’s birthday on January 19, we’ve partnered with Imagination Library to bring more books to more children. For every item purchased from January 18 to January 19, we’re donating one book to Imagination Library. 

Seen here: What Would Dolly Do Tee

We also got to meet some of the women behind Imagination Library and asked them about their favorite books, working at the organization, and Dolly, of course. Meet them below.


Erica Mitchell, Chief Community Impact Officer

Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee

On Erica: What Would Dolly Do Tee

Favorite children’s book?

“Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson

Favorite book of all time?

“The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson 

Best thing about working for Imagination Library?

Building home libraries for every kid, free of charge!

Favorite Dolly quote?

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain.” – Dolly Parton


Mary Jo Wiggins: Chief Development Officer 

Hometown: Green Bay, Wisconsin

On Mary Jo: Floral A-Line Bell Sleeve Dress

Favorite children’s book?

“Corduroy” by Don Freeman

Best thing about working for Imagination Library?

Telling parents that each of their children can build a full library of wonderful books, at no cost to the families!

Favorite Dolly song?

“Islands in the Stream,” because it reminds me of my dad who played Dolly all my growing up years, and “Jolene,” because my teenage girls sing it together.


Leslie Watt: Sr. Manager, Education with the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville

Hometown: Hagerstown, Maryland

On Leslie: What Would Dolly Do Tee

Favorite children’s book?

“Corduroy” by Don Freeman

Favorite book of all time?

“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

Best thing about working for Imagination Library?

I love knowing that children experience pure joy when they receive a new book each month in the mailbox. There is nothing more wonderful than opening the pages of a good book.

Favorite Dolly quote?

“You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.” – Dolly Parton


Brooke Seigle-Rochelle, Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee Manager

Hometown: Nashville, TN

On Brooke: Heart Shirtdress

Favorite children’s book?

My picture Bible

Favorite book of all time?

Anything by Barbara Kingsolver. She is one of the most influential and prolific modern writers around. I own and have read every book she has ever written! A few times!

Best thing about working for Imagination Library? 

I am passionate about children.  I want them to feel loved and successful.  Books are a great vehicle for nurturing these feelings.  There is nothing more enjoyable to me than reading to a group of children and seeing them interact, experience, and learn through a story.

Favorite Dolly quote?

“Before he passed away, my Daddy told me the Imagination Library was probably the most important thing I had ever done. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me because I created the Imagination Library as a tribute to my Daddy. He was the smartest man I have ever known but I know in my heart his inability to read probably kept him from fulfilling all of his dreams. Inspiring kids to love to read became my mission.”

Seen here: Check Cape Sweater, Floral A-Line Bell Sleeve Dress, Long Sleeve Sailor Sweater, and Heart Shirtdress

Please visit Imagination Library for more information on the program.

Photography by Kiki Morton