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Librarian Ian hand-picked by Dolly

PUBLISHED: 15:27 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:13 12 August 2010

Knock out: Ian thrilled to meet Dolly

Knock out: Ian thrilled to meet Dolly

QUEEN of country Dolly Parton appointed a children s book expert to personally choose literature for youngsters on her behalf. Bromley Library development manager, Ian Dodds, met the star on board her tour bus just before her final sell out date at the

QUEEN of country Dolly Parton appointed a children's book expert to personally choose literature for youngsters on her behalf.

Bromley Library development manager, Ian Dodds, met the star on board her tour bus just before her final sell out date at the O2 Arena, Greenwich on July 5.

He is one of four UK children's book experts chosen to select books for her Imagination Library scheme which gives children one book a month for the first five years of their life.

Mr Dodds, who has worked as a children's librarian for 15 years, said: "She was just what I expected, very funny and utterly charming. She was very friendly and quite self-depreciating.

"Her tour bus was right in the bowels of the O2 which she said she prefers to hotels. I didn't see too much of it but it looked very comfortable.

"She thanked me for my involvement in the scheme and we had a photo taken. It was quite quick but then again she was about to give a two hour concert so I'm sure she was concentrating on that."

After the meeting, Mr Dodds stayed for the 'fantastic' concert which received rave reviews.

He said: "The concert was brilliant, it was totally sold out. She did all the classics that you'd expect like Jolene, Nine To Five and Coat Of Many Colours. Everyone was on their feet. It was fantastic"

Mr Dodds said the star spoke very movingly to the audience in the packed arena about her father, telling them he was the most intelligent man she knew but that he had never learnt to read.

He said: "She told us she decided when she had money that's what she wanted to do with it, make reading accessible for all. I am very passionate about that and have spent my whole career promoting the joys of reading.

"I'm not sure people are aware of just how much she has done for literacy in the USA but her scheme is in 40 States and that's quite amazing."

Commenting on the committee, Dolly Parton, said: "I'm delighted that we've created a Selection Committee in the UK with such wonderful experience in encouraging education for children.

"It's my dream that every child has a library of books which their parents can read to them from the moment they are born. This will play a vital role in inspiring children and parents across the UK to embrace the joy of reading and learning together."

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library was founded by Dolly Parton in 1996 and officially launched in the UK last December, with children in Rotherham and Wigtown in Scotland already receiving books through the scheme.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the Imagination Library and bring it to pre-school children in their area should contact ddotson@dollyfoundation.com or call 0207 7499219.


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