It’s honorary Dolly Parton Day in Ohio today, so break out your rhinestones and your big blonde wig, because it’s time to celebrate. In addition to the sparkles and the glamor, you better pick up a book, too, because Dolly Parton is in Columbus, Ohio to commemorate the Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Ohio and celebrate early literacy for children.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine named today, August 9th, Dolly Parton Day in honor of the legendary singer’s Imagination Library program coming to Ohio. The Imagination Library is a program that gifts books to children enrolled every month from birth to age five. The program aims to foster literacy in every child no matter their living or family income situation. It was launched in 1995 in Sevier County, Tennessee, where Parton was born. But, it soon took off and expanded all over the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Ireland. To this day, the program has delivered millions of books across the world.
Now, the Imagination Library comes to Ohio. Parton recently celebrated the Library in West Virginia, and now comes to Ohio to share her love of reading. Currently, Ohio is sending out 327,000 books to its young residents. The program was supported by both Fran DeWine, the first lady of Ohio, and the Ohio General Assembly, and is open within all 88 counties.
Dolly Parton Talks About What Led Her to Start the Imagination Library
Recently, Dolly Parton spoke with Arkansas PBS about the Imagination Library and what initially sparked her love of reading. According to Parton, she first wanted to make a difference in her home county.
“I came from a very big family… a very poor family on both sides,” she began. “Most of the people in that part of the country didn’t get the chance to go to school because the school was way off. And, most of the kids had to help out with the family.”
Her family life served as the inspiration for the foundation. “My own dad couldn’t read and write, but Daddy was so smart. He just didn’t get that opportunity to go to school. It just kind of bothered him,” she explained. “It’s something I wanted to do to honor him.”
Parton Honors Her Father With Imagination Library
On the Imagination Library’s website, there’s a letter from Dolly Parton where she explains that her father was the inspiration behind the foundation. She also shares his reaction to the program before he passed away.
“My Daddy told me the Imagination Library was probably the most important thing I had ever done,” the letter reads. “I can’t tell you how much that meant to me because I created the Imagination Library as a tribute to my Daddy. He was the smartest man I have ever known but I know in my heart his inability to read probably kept him from fulfilling all of his dreams.”