How Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Came to the Verde Valley
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails a free book every month to children from birth to age five in participating communities within the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Republic of Ireland. Over 2 million books are mailed monthly.
OVER 2.5 MILLION children are registered! Recently shipped the 200 millionth book!
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The Start of Verde Valley Imagination Library
The Rotary Club of Sedona brought the Imagination Library to Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek first, with kick-off events at both libraries. David Simmer, the 2019-2020 Rotary District Governor for the northern half of Arizona, spearheaded that initiative. The Great Sedona Chili Cook-Off and many individual donors helped fund the program. Rotarians and volunteers wearing Cat-in-the Hat hats helped parents enroll at family friendly community events. The Sedona club worked with leaders in the Beaver Creek community to add Rimrock to the coverage area.
In July 2016, with the help of a one-year challenge grant from the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona and the support of all the Rotary Clubs in the Verde Valley (Sedona, Sedona Red Rocks, Verde Valley clubs,) the coverage area expanded to all Verde Valley communities.
To simplify the financial accounting, the newly named Verde Valley Imagination Library (VVIL) became its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit with representatives of each Rotary Club on the board. There are no paid staff and no facility overhead.
In November 2017 the VVIL established a partnership with the Northern Arizona Healthcare’s Verde Valley Medical center to give the first book to every newborn and to help parents register in the free book program.
The VVIL Board has been involved in promoting the program over the coverage area and continue to fundraise. The Blazin for Books Celebration and Fundraiser takes place bi-annually, with the next one scheduled for 2-4-24. We are proud to partner with the local pre-schools, Head Start preschools and local libraries. We are also thankful for the grant funding we have received from many partners in the area.
Where We Are Today
Currently there are over 1800 participating in the Verde Valley. When families move to the area, they can enroll their child(ren), the only requirement is that they live in the 10 zip codes covered by the VVIL. The first book will be received 2 months after enrollment.
Town and number of children registered*
Cottonwood - 770
Camp Verde - 423
Sedona & VOC - 82
Rimrock - 167
Clarkdale - 121
Cornville - 110
Jerome - 2
* Enrollment as of the end of July 2023