Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is the subject of the new documentary The Library That Dolly Built, which will stream exclusively on Facebook on Wednesday, Dec. 9, beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The film showcases "the history, impact and future of Dolly Parton's world-wide book gifting program."
The screening will be followed by a conversation and live acoustic performance from Parton.
"I am so excited that we can finally tell the whole story of the Imagination Library. It is certainly not just about me," Parton said in a statement. "Our story is the story of children, of families and communities who all share the dream to inspire kids to love to read and to love to learn. My hope is this documentary will encourage more towns, more states and even more countries to jump onboard. One thing is for sure, I think this is the best investment I have ever made!"
Directed and produced by Nick Geidner, a journalism professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and narrated by Wonder Years star Danica McKellar, The Library That Dolly Built shows how Parton took the program from an idea to a life-changing organization.
Since the program launched in 1995 in Parton's home county of Sevier County, Tennessee, the Imagination Library has delivered over 135 million books to kids.
"Of all the things that I've done in my life, this is one of the most precious things," Parton says in the film's trailer.
"I always felt we owed the world a better and deeper understanding of the Imagination Library but the stars never quite aligned," Parton said in an earlier press release. "When Nick Geidner came to us with his unique vision and talent, I knew the time had come to make this film. I am a charter member of the Dream More Club so with the help of Abramorama, Dollywood and all of our community partners, we hope to make a big splash in theaters all across the country on April 2. We have come a long way but there is so much left to do!"
Parton was inspired to launch the Imagination Library in part because of her father.
"My dad didn't get the chance to go to school. And Daddy couldn't read and write, and that was kind of crippling to him," Parton told NPR. "He was such a smart man, though. He just had such good common sense. They call it horse sense in the country."
Parton will be featured in yet another documentary this year. Still Working 9 to 5 focuses on the cultural impact of the 1980 film 9 to 5, which starred Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.