The American Library Association (ALA) is giving an honorary lifetime membership to Dolly Parton! The award-winning singer-songwriter, actress, businesswoman, and philanthropist is receiving the honor for her longstanding support and commitment to inspiring a love of books and reading. Honorary membership is the highest honor given by ALA 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 County, Tennessee. 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’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 10 children under the age of five in the U.S. received an Imagination Library book from Parton each month. That’s more than 2 million books delivered each month! Parton considers the initiative to be one of her greatest achievements.
ALA will officially confer the honorary membership upon Parton this June during its Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.
In addition to the honorary membership, Parton has also joined ALA’s Celebrity READ® Campaign! In the new poster, Parton holds the picture books The Little Engine That Could and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The poster is available now at the ALA Store.