APH News & Press

APH Partners With Dollywood Foundation to Make "Imagination Library" Accessible to Visually Impaired Children

Louisville, KY – The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and the Dollywood Foundation are pleased to announce a partnership that will expand the "Imagination Library" program to provide blind and visually impaired children with accessible books. The Imagination Library is a program that has put more than 34 million free books in the hands of children age 5 and under, and thanks to the collaboration with APH, a selection of those books will be translated into braille and audio recordings. The announcement coincided with Dollywood’s annual summertime KidsFest celebration, where Dolly Parton and representatives from APH presented a Braille book to Cameron Burkett from McMinnville, TN.

Among Parton’s most passionate humanitarian efforts is her commitment to encourage a love of reading among preschool children and their families through her Imagination Library.

"There’s an old saying that you can tell a lot about a person based on the company they keep," said Parton. "Any credit I get is really due to the hard work and fine reputation of all of those who partner with us to bring the love of reading to so many kids. I am just thrilled we can work together to bring this same joy to all children who may have trouble seeing but have no trouble in believing that all of their dreams can come true."

The Dollywood Foundation will work with the American Printing House for the Blind to select several book titles each year that are suitable for reproduction in braille and audio. The program will begin by making audio files available, for free, to Imagination Library participants from a link on APH’s website by September of 2011, and more than 35 titles will be available by the end of this year. Later, the partnership will also make available an annual selection of print/braille Imagination Library books that can be purchased from APH at low cost.

APH President Tuck Tinsley says, "We’re excited! What an honor it is to partner with someone like Dolly who is as passionate about literacy as we are. This relationship between The Imagination Library and the American Printing House for the Blind means that blind and visually impaired preschoolers can now be more involved in the experience of reading with their parents."

About The Imagination Library

Founded in 1996 in Parton’s native Sevier County in East Tennessee, The Imagination Library works with thousands of local sponsors such as United Way, Rotary, and Kiwanis to provide an age appropriate book to participating children ages five and under in 1,300 communities in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom. More than seven million books were distributed in 2010, and approximately 675,000 children currently receive a book each month.

To provide the Imagination Library, a community must make the program accessible to all preschool children in their area, and the community pays for the books, promotes the program, and registers the children. Parton’s not-for-profit Dollywood Foundation manages the delivery of books to children’s homes.

The Dollywood Foundation is based in Pigeon Forge, TN. For more information, visit www.imaginationlibrary.com.

About the American Printing House for the Blind

The American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the world’s largest company devoted solely to researching, developing, and manufacturing products for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. Under the 1879 federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, APH is the official supplier of educational materials for visually impaired students in the U.S. who are working at less than college level.

APH manufactures textbooks and magazines in braille, large print, recorded, and digital formats. APH also manufactures hundreds of educational, recreational, and daily living products. APH’s fully-accessible website (www.aph.org) features information about APH products and services, online ordering of products, and free information on a wide variety of blindness-related topics.

The American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. is located at 1839 Frankfort Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information, call (502) 895-2405 or log on to www.aph.org.

Visit Our House!