Ohio Governor Mike DeWine declares August 9 Dolly Parton Day.
Dolly Parton will stop by Columbus, Ohio, to visit Ohio’s First Lady Fran DeWine to promote and celebrate the Imagination Library Program. The legendary country star’s involvement in the book gifting program has prompted Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to declare August 9 honorary Dolly Parton Day ahead of her visit.
The Imagination Library is a program that mails free books to children under age five, regardless of the family’s income. Originally started in 1995 in Dolly Parton’s hometown in Sevier County, Tennessee, the program quickly became a success and expanded nationwide. The singer’s Imagination Library program has reached many milestones throughout its lifetime, including adding audio and braille books in 2011. By 2016, they were sending out one million books each month, and in 2020 they had gifted their 150 millionth book.
Over two million children have registered for the program, and over 186 million books have been gifted to children worldwide. In Ohio, according to a statement from the governor’s office, the library mails over 327,000 books to kids every month.
Dolly Parton has long used her influence to help children in need. The singer recently donated $1 million to pediatric infectious disease research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The donation helps support ongoing research that includes treating infections, understanding how viruses and bacteria cause disease and learning more about childhood infections worldwide.
“I love all children,” says Parton about the donation. “No child should ever have to suffer, and I’m willing to do my part to try and keep as many of them as I can as healthy and safe as possible.”
Dolly also donated $1 million to VUMC in 2020 to assist in the battle against COVID-19, and her donations to medical research were instrumental in funding the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
“Dolly’s previous support to infectious disease research, and also our pediatric cancer program has already saved countless lives,” says Jeff Balser, MD, Ph.D., President and CEO of VUMC and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “It speaks volumes about her passion for people, and we couldn’t be more thankful.”