International Literacy Day

August 2020

To raise awareness for literacy issues that exist within our own community as well as globally, we invite you to join us in celebration of International Literacy Day, September 8.

Each day, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL), a funded program of Smart Start of Mecklenburg County, work together to deliver books to Mecklenburg County's youngest children through funding provided by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is a book gifting program for children from birth to age five. The mission of the program is to foster a love of reading in preschool children and ensure that every child born has books, regardless of their family's income.

Under Smart Start of Mecklenburg, The Dolly Parton Imagination Library program has grown by leaps and bounds over the past five years to become the largest DPIL in North Carolina, serving 28,000 Mecklenburg children. These children receive free, age appropriate books delivered to their homes each month. That is over 324,000 books!

"Our state leaders clearly understand how important an early love of reading is for each child's success in school and later in life," stated Cindy Watkins, the President of the North Carolina Partnership for Children that oversaw the Smart Start network at the time. "Smart Start works in every community to ensure young children have a strong foundation for starting kindergarten now we can offer this important literacy program to that critical work."

In order to ensure that all 85,000 children in our community younger than 5 can enroll, please consider an annual donation of $30 to sponsor a child in this program.  Smart Start of Mecklenburg County's goal is to have this program in every applicable home in Mecklenburg County.

The work Smart Start does every day impacts the 85,000 children ages 0-5 in our community. These advances and opportunities would not have been possible without the generosity of our funders and friends. We hope you consider Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and Smart Start of Mecklenburg County in your International Literacy Day giving.

To find out more about Smart Start of Mecklenburg County and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library partnership, to sponsor or register a child, visit

Enroll a Child


Build a Home Library for a Child


About The Imagination Library

In 1995, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee, USA. Dolly's vision was to foster a love of reading among her county's preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could ensure that every child would have books, regardless of their family's income.