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Brock Zych, along with other UT JEM students, outside the Library of Congress.
Brock Zych, along with other School of Journalism and Electronic Media students, outside the Library of Congress.

Six students and a faculty member from the School of Journalism and Electronic Media are in Washington, DC, today as the Dollywood Foundation and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library celebrate the presentation of their 100 millionth book at the Library of Congress.

The College of Communication and Information contingent is there as part of Land Grant Films, which is chronicling the event for its newest documentary, tentatively titled 100 Million Stories. Though pegged to the milestone book presentation, the documentary will tell the story of the program which delivers free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school without regards to income. It will also detail the history of the program, its impact, and feature some recipients of the free books.

“This event is one of the primary parts of the documentary because we want to celebrate this amazing milestone,” said Nick Geidner, JEM professor and director of 100 Million Stories. “The Library of Congress event will be seen throughout the film, so it’s an important shoot.”

Geidner’s student crew in Washington includes junior Abby Bower, freshman Kayli Martin, graduate student Lindsey Owen, and seniors Ben Proffitt, Story Sims, and Brock Zych.

“For the documentary, I will be acting as the director of photography,” said Zych of Kingsport, Tennessee. “I will be in charge of the video shot during the event, the establishing shots, as well as the interviews.”

While in Washington, the crew will have the opportunity to interview the 14th Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen, and Parton.

Geidner—who launched Land Grant Films several years ago as a way to give students hands-on experience in documentary storytelling while providing no-cost video services for local nonprofit organizations—has said he hopes PBS or Netflix will be interested in airing 100 Million Stories once it’s done.

Today’s celebration, which will feature a question-and-answer session between Parton and Hayden, as well as a reading of Parton’s book Coat of Many Colors, will be streamed live online at 10 a.m. EST.

Media coverage: KMVT (also ran on WEAU, WYMT, WMTV, KSFY) Kyle Midura, Feb. 27; Daily Kos, Jen Hayden, Feb. 27; The Tennessean, Maggie Jones, Feb. 27; WWNT Radio, Sherri Guerrero, March 2; WKYTand KWTX, Kyle Midura, March 4


Amy Blakely (, 865-974-5034)