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Dolly Parton donates millions of books

Words by Smiley Team

Dolly Parton is an international celebrity, known for songs like Jolene and I Will Always Love You, but in recent years she’s gained acclaim for her philanthropy, giving out millions for Covid research, and most notably her charity, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

The library was founded in 1995 and when it was started, Dolly didn’t see it expanding much further than her native Sevier County, Tennessee, to help kids in her community learn how to read.

But 27 years later, the organization has stretched across the globe and has given out more than 186 million books to date. 

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In August, Dolly visited Columbus, Ohio, the state with the most enrollees to the Imagination Library, to promote the organization and give thanks to sponsors across the state. As part of the celebration, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine declared August 9 “Dolly Parton Day.” Ohio has 327,000 children enrolled for a free monthly book. 

“I'll be as proud of this as anything I've ever done,” Dolly said of the Imagination Library. “When they lay me down, I'll be thinking of the Imagination Library.”

To make the Imagination Library work, a local partner enrolls children up to age 5 in the program and provides $2.10 per child per month to cover costs. 

After starting in just her home community the Imagination Library is now available in five different countries.

“We’re just excited about the growth of it and the excitement, you know, that people seem to have for it,” she said. “It just seems to be growing leaps and bounds. Everybody wants to help the kids, and I just love the fact that everybody is on board with it.”

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: If you wanted to support the Imagination Library you can always donate!

SUPPORT: Another place for affordable books is thrift stores, consider donating used books. If that’s not possible try and just share the love of reading with children in need. Look into your local library to offer support.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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