Dolly Parton presents braille book to blind child

Post date: 
Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Presentation to mark new partnership between RNIB and Dolly Parton Imagination Library 

Music legend Dolly Parton took time out of her UK tour to present a braille book to 5-year-old Dylan Manifold from Liverpool who was born with septo optic dysplasia which means he has no sight except for a slight light perception. 

The presentation, which took place on Saturday at the Echo Arena Liverpool, was in celebration of two major milestones for the country star’s childhood literacy programme Imagination Library. 

The braille copy of The Tale of Peter Rabbit was not only the one millionth book to be delivered through the UK Imagination Library programme since its launch in 2007, but also marks the beginning of an exciting new partnership with RNIB. 

Working with the UK Imagination Library, RNIB will deliver 6 free braille or audio books each year to blind and partially sighted children . 

Dylan’s mum Donna says “Dylan has started learning braille since January, and right now all his books are homemade as it is hard to get braille books for children.  It will be lovely to have some braille children’s stories for him to read, and fantastic to have these in dual format, print and braille, so we can share with Dylan.”

RNIB believes that people with sight loss should have access to the same range of books as everyone else. Through our National Library Service and Talking Books, we produce and distributes more than 1.5 million books every year in accessible formats such as braille, unabridged audio and giant print. All of these books, as well as those to be sent out as part of the Imagination Library project, are posted free of charge through Royal Mail’s Articles for the Blind scheme

Dolly Parton said: “It’s great to be here in the UK to make this very special delivery to Dylan and his parents. I’m so excited that the 28,000 children who receive a book each month from the UK Imagination Library can now be joined by blind and partially sighted children thanks to our new partnership with RNIB.  Now even more kids have the opportunity to develop a love of books from the earliest possible age.”

RNIB’s Head of Digital and Reading Services Clive Gardiner said: "We are delighted to be working with the Dolly Parton UK Imagination Library to ensure that blind and partially sighted children throughout the UK receive their very own accessible books in braille and audio. Books open up a world of adventure and education for children and their families, and RNIB is committed to making sure children who are blind or partially sighted can enjoy the same opportunities as their friends and classmates." 

The music star launched the UK Imagination Library in December 2007. The programme is now distributing free books once a month to over 28,000 under 5s across the UK, from rural Scotland to the heart of London. Since the scheme started, almost 45,000 children and their families have benefited from receiving monthly books. 

Also at the presentation was Jill Daley who presents the lunchtime show on RNIB’s Insight Radio, Europe’s first radio station for the blind and partially sighted. Jill said: “Meeting Dolly was unforgettable. When I lost my sight aged 19, she was one of my inspirations to build a career in radio. To be here with her in person years later is a dream come true.” Insight Radio kicks off its month long Dolly Parton promotion today including a grand prize of a pair of tickets for her London O2 concert on 28 June. 

RNIB’s National Library Services and Talking Books would not be possible without the generous support of members of the public. Anyone can support RNIB’s work by signing up to ‘wear dots and raise lots’ as part of the RNIB Read event in October visit for more information.  

Contact details

For further information please call Jessica Hall in the RNIB PR team on 0207 391 2290 or [email protected].

About RNIB

RNIB is the leading charity working in the UK offering practical support, advice and information for anyone with sight difficulties. If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit

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