Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce

Imagination Library


In Jefferson County, over 1,800 children ages birth through five receive a free book each month through the Imagination Library.

The county was one of the first to participate in the program, founded by Dolly Parton in 1996 as a gift to the children of her hometown of Sevierville, with the Jefferson County Chamber being the inital presenting sponsor for this program. The state and local communities joined as partners in 2004, and to date Tennessee’s statewide Imagination Library has provided over 28.3 million books to children without cost to their families. Today we are also proud partners with Governor Books from Birth Foundation.

 265,364 of Tennessee's children under five currently receive Imagination Library books. If you aren’t taking advantage of it for your son or daughter, please use one of the contacts at the end of this story.

Currently, 43 percent of Tennessee third graders are reading on grade level. Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out later.

In a recent study conducted by the Urban Child Institute, research showed that programs like the Imagination Library lead to early childhood language development, school readiness, grade progression, on-time graduation and college attendance.

Donna Yates of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce coordinates the Imagination Library program locally. For more information about enrolling, call
(865) 397-9642 or Email:

For more information about the READ20 Family Book Club visit,, follow @Read20TN on Twitter, or go to your local public library.

To learn how to support your county’s Imagination Library program, or for information on how to register a child, visit,, or call toll-free at 1-877-99-BOOKS.


Imagination Library quote: On a recent visit to Dandridge, in August 2012, First Lady Crissy Haslam stated: “The saying is that you learn to read until third grade, and afterward you read to learn." “That shows the importance of a good foundation in literacy, so you won’t fall behind.”                       

Imagination Library quote: “Tennessee is fortunate to have the Imagination Library as a unique resource to prepare children for a bright future,” said Mrs. Haslam in August 2012. “Children who participate in the program are better prepared for school and have better-developed skills in reading, speaking, thinking, and social skills. Reading – by itself – is not a magic key to change. It is what reading enables us to learn and to do that is critical.”



"This program is one of the most important ways I know to improve the educational opportunities for children in your community!"
                                                                                                                - Dolly


* Partcipation is free. However, if you would like to help by sponsoring a child in Jefferson County, donations, which are 100% tax-deductible, may be made/mailed to: 

Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce/Education Foundation
P.O. Box 890
Dandridge, TN 37725