DeWine welcomes Dolly Parton to the state to celebrate Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Thursday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and first lady Fran DeWine welcomed Dolly Parton to Ohio to celebrate the statewide success of Parton’s Imagination Library in Ohio, where every child under the age of 5 is eligible.
The 2022 Inaugural First Lady’s Luncheon supported Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio, a passion of Fran DeWine. Currently, 343,490 children are enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio, which means 48% of eligible children between birth to age 5 years old are enrolled in the program.
“It is an incredible honor to host Dolly Parton and celebrate the success of her book gifting program here in Ohio,” Fran DeWine said. “Ohio’s Imagination Library is thriving, and we are truly blessed to have so many supporters of the program in every community across our great state. These books are changing the lives of so many children and preparing them for kindergarten — and life!”
At Tuesday’s luncheon, Gov. DeWine introduced first lady DeWine, noting that more Ohio children are receiving the Imagination Library books from Dolly Parton’s program than in any other state. Gov. DeWine recently joined first lady DeWine at several of her Imagination Library events, including a press conference in St. Clairsville in Belmont County.
During the luncheon, Fran DeWine hosted a fireside chat with Dolly Parton, where Parton explained how important the Imagination Library is to her. In 1995, she created Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for children living in Sevier County, Tennessee. She initially was inspired to create the Imagination Library by her father, who was illiterate. Since 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has expanded nationally and internationally. The program was brought statewide to Ohio in 2019, under the guidance of first lady DeWine.
Parton and first lady DeWine each were gifted a quilt from Ohio’s Imagination Library’s affiliates. Both quilts include 88 squares, one for each of Ohio’s 88 counties. Each county affiliate worked with a group of preschoolers in their community to design a square representing their county.
“I was so excited to join Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine today in celebrating my Imagination Library being available for every child in Ohio!” Parton said.
Ohio’s Imagination Library has 71 affiliates who administer the program on a county level, cover 50% of the cost of books and build partnerships throughout the community. The remaining cost of each book is covered by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio, ensuring the program remains free for all families. Through a partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, each Imagination Library book is $2.10.
Additionally, Dolly Parton presented first lady DeWine with a copy of her book, “Coat of Many Colors.” This copy is a dedication piece for Tuesday’s celebration of Ohio’s statewide success. “Coat of Many Colors” tells the story of a young girl in need of a warm winter coat. It is part of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library 2022 collection and is mailed to children born in 2018.
The First Lady’s Charitable Foundation hosted the 2022 Inaugural First Lady’s Luncheon to raise awareness of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio. The First Lady’s Charitable Foundation was organized in 2021, and is a nonprofit organization to raise awareness and financial support for the first lady of Ohio’s philanthropic endeavors.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio, in partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and nonprofit organizations across the state, mails children one book each month from birth to age 5 years old. All children in Ohio are eligible to enroll, and this program is available at no cost to families. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio was established in 2019, and became available to all families — regardless of the ZIP code — for free in November 2020. Prior to 2019, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was only available in pockets of Ohio.
Parents and guardians interested in enrolling their child in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio can visit OhioImaginationLibrary.com.