Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Homecomin' celebration unites writers, readers

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The people who head Dolly Parton's Imagination Library in communities all over the world are in Pigeon Forge learning from each other.

It's the Imagination Library's Homecomin', where people who work on local levels to give Dolly's books to kids can share ideas of what's working for them.

This year, one of the authors who writes for the library was able to speak to the crowd. This program has a special place for him because his family couldn't afford books when he was growing up. His book is just one of the 1.1 million in the hands of kids.

"I didn't grow up with books. So this is an incredibly personal thing for me," Newberry Medal-Winning author Matt de la Pena said, "the fact that young kids who don't have the means are getting free books."

"It's nice because at this point we have a lot of experienced library affiliates, we have brand new ones, we have rural, urban, so there's something for everybody to learn," said David Dotson of the Imagination Library.

The Imagination Library just got a huge boost in North Carolina, where the state legislature had agreed to give $3 million to take the literacy program statewide.

"I'm so excited to join Smart Start to expand my Imagination Library across the state," Dolly Parton said. "Welcome aboard North Carolina—let's give these dreams some wings!"

Parton started the Imagination Library in her home county of Sevier. Now, the library is in four countries around the world.