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What We Do

The Emerald City Rotary Foundation and Greenwood County Library are partnering with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to promote early childhood literacy in Greenwood County, South Carolina, by providing age-appropriate books each month to children from newborn to age 5—at no cost to the family and regardless of income.


Dolly Parton created this program to foster a love of reading and learning among preschool children and their families. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wants children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. More information at


How It Works

  • All children aged 0 to 4 who live in Greenwood County are eligible.

  • Parents enroll children at GREENWOOD COUNTY LIBRARY, 600 MAIN ST S,
    GREENWOOD, SC 29646, or online at

  • The Dollywood Foundation mails one book each month to the child FREE OF CHARGE until the child turns five or moves out of Greenwood County.



Why We Do It

Early Literacy Matters

  • Reading aloud is widely recognized as the single most important activity leading to language development and literacy.

  • Children must be exposed to language during their early years in order for their brains to develop the necessary connections for speech.

  • A child’s brain grows to 80% of its full size by age 3 and by age 5 it will have reached 90 percent of its adult size. In the first few years of life, a child’s brain builds 700 connections per second.

  • Reading to a child in an interactive style, especially before age 4, raises a child’s IQ by 6 points.

  • Reading to a child promotes a longer attention span, which is an important skill for a child to be able to concentrate.

  • In middle-income neighborhoods, the book to child ratio is 13 to 1, compared to 1 to 300 in low-income neighborhoods.

  • Children with as few as 25 books in the home complete an average of 2 more years of schooling than those with no books.

  • By age 3, children from low-income families may hear 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers.

  • Vocabulary development by age 3 predicts third grade reading achievement.

  • Children who reach fourth grade without being able to read proficiently are more likely to drop out of high school, reducing their earnings potential and changes for success.

  • Only 34% of 4th graders in South Carolina are reading at grade level.

  • Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare.

  • Over 70 percent of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level.

  • Nearly 85 percent of the juveniles who face trial in the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.






$30 provides…

  • 1 book a month to 1 child for one year

$60 provides…

  • 1 book a month to 2 children for 1 year, or

  • 1 book a month to 1 child for 2 years

$150 provides…

  • 1 book a month to 1 child for 5 years, or

  • 1 book a month to 5 children for 1 year

$1500 provides…

  • 1 book a month to 10 children for 5 years, or

  • 1 book a month to 50 children for 1 year


Thanks to Our Generous Supporters

The Hack Foundation

Emerald City Rotary Club

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