Dolly Parton visits Columbus for Imagination Library event

Press Staff Writer

        Country music singer Dolly Parton took the stage in Columbus on Aug. 10, not to perform, but to promote her other passion – inspiring children to read.
        Parton was the guest of Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine in her effort to promote Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL). Gov. Mike DeWine declared Aug. 9 Dolly Parton Day in Ohio in light of the star’s visit.
        Inspired by her own father’s inability to read, Parton started her Imagination Library in 1995. Today, it spans five countries and gifts over 1 million books each month.
        Ohio’s Imagination Library began in 2019 and distributes more than 327,000 books monthly to all kids from birth to age 5.
        The First Lady’s Charitable Foundation hosted the luncheon, which was closed to the public, to raise financial support and awareness for the Ohio Program. The event took place at Ohio Union in the Archie Griffin Ballroom. Currently, 45% of eligible children in Ohio receive books through DPIL. The goal of the event was to raise that mark to 50%.
        United Way of Greater Toledo’s Wood County has been a proponent of DPIL since the beginning. Maria Simon, youth services coordinator for Wood County District Public Library, represented Wood County at the event. Simon is also an advisory board member for United Way in Wood County.
        “Dolly was amazing to see in person – down to earth, funny and very inspiring,” she said.
        Erin Hachtel, area director for United Way in Wood County, said 3,586 Wood County children are enrolled in the DPIL program. “United Way in Wood County is proud to serve as the local affiliate for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library in Ohio,” she said. “As of Aug. 1, Wood County has enrolled more than 50% of our eligible children, thanks to incredible support and outreach of our WoodLink libraries and Wood County Hospital. This program is a key piece of our early childhood education investment in the county.”
        Culminating the luncheon, Parton and the First Lady were gifted quilts featuring squares created by participating youth in each Ohio county, including Wood.
        All Ohioans are encouraged to register children to receive Imagination Library books. Register and learn more about the program at and


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