Joe’s Jukebox – “Dolly Parton, Songteller”

Welcome to another installment of “Joe’s Jukebox,” a new series highlighting the library’s most marvelous musical materials– presented by Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian, Joe O’Brien.

One musician that’s been having something of a moment lately is the incomparable Dolly Parton. She popped up in the news late last year when it was discovered that a million-dollar donation of hers was pivotal to the speedy success of Moderna’s COVID vaccine. She has also become a hero to young readers everywhere, with her famous “Imagination Library” having given away over 150 million books to children over the past 25 years. 

But of course, before all that, Dolly was an American icon and national treasure because of her shimmering talents as a singer and songwriter. And we now have this fantastic new book she wrote with Robert K. Oermann titled Songteller: A Life in Lyrics, which chronicles her legendary career. It includes the lyrics to 175 of her songs, plus many of the experiences and memories that inspired those songs, told in Dolly’s own words.

The book is also illustrated with a truckload of fabulous photographs of Dolly through the years, along with handwritten lyric sheets, album artwork, archival images, and memorabilia. Whether you’ve been a fan of Dolly Parton for over sixty years, or you’re just getting into her work now, I can’t recommend this book enough– and again, it is currently in our print collection here at the Livingston Public Library (as well as the collections of many other BCCLS libraries, if our copy is unavailable at the moment). Ebook editions are available through Overdrive and Hoopla Digital, and Overdrive also has an audiobook edition. While I’d say it’s essential to check out any edition of the book that contains all the photos if you’re able, it might also be cool to read along to the audiobook version, especially since it’s narrated by Dolly herself. 

Now if that doesn’t satiate your appetite for Dolly Parton-related media, there’s plenty more where that came from. We have another new book called She Come By It Natural : Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs, a personal exploration of her music written by National Book Award finalist Sarah Smarsh, which we have in our collection in print, or as an ebook or audiobook through Overdrive.

We have a copy of Dolly’s 1994 memoir Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business. Or you could listen to a book on CD we have called Dream More, which is based on an inspiring commencement address she gave at the University of Tennessee. If you know any kids who might want to learn about Dolly Parton, we have copies of Who Is Dolly Parton? in print or as an ebook through Overdrive.You can also borrow one of the movies Dolly starred in, like 9 to 5, Steel Magnolias, and Joyful Noise— all of which we have on DVD.

Finally, if you’re just in the mood to hear some of Dolly Parton’s classic music, there’s a bunch of her albums available to stream or temporarily download from Hoopla Digital, or borrow on CD through one of the BCCLS libraries.

Til next time, remember: sometimes the road is rugged, and it’s hard to travel on, but holdin’ to each other, we don’t have to walk alone…

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