It’s officially Dolly Parton Day on Aug. 9, 2022, in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine has declared. To celebrate, Parton will travel to Columbus for the First Annual First Lady’s Luncheon, with Ohio’s first lady Fran DeWine. Parton fans can watch a livestream of the event on the Imagination Library’s website.
In the proclamation, the governor notes the country icon’s philanthropy, including her Imagination Library and instilling “a love of reading among the children of Sevier County, Tennessee, where she grew up,” as well as her programs availability “in all 88 counties” of Ohio.
More from Billboard
The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library was launched in 2019, and in July 2022, transitioned to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio. By the end of 2021, more than 300,000 children in Ohio had been enrolled in the Imagination Library, which accounts for 43% of eligible kids statewide.
“More Ohio children are receiving the Imagination Library books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program than in any other state,” said Fran DeWine via a press release in 2021. “We’re grateful to our affiliates and partners around the state who have made this milestone possible.”
Parton founded her Imagination Library in 1995, and the program provides a free book each month to children from birth to age 5. The full program offers each child 60 books. To date, Parton’s Imagination Library has seen over 2 million children registered with the program worldwide, and more than 186 million total books gifted. Today, the organization gifts more than 1 million books to children around the world each month. In addition to its work in the United States, the Imagination Library includes programs in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
“When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true,” Parton said via a statement on imaginationlibrary.com. “I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer. The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”
See Gov. DeWine’s Dolly Parton Day declaration below:
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) August 8, 2022