By Okon Ekpenyong
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine welcomed Dolly Parton to Ohio to celebrate the statewide success of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Ohio, where every child under the age of 5 is eligible, with 343,490 children enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio.
The 2022 Inaugural First Lady’s Luncheon supported Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio, a passion of First Lady 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,” said First Lady Fran DeWine.
“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, Governor 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. Governor DeWine recently joined First Lady DeWine at several of her Imagination Library events, including a press conference in St. Clairsville (Belmont County), and a Storybook Trail opening at Rocky Fork State Park (Highland County).
During the luncheon, First Lady DeWine hosted a fireside chat with Dolly Parton, where Dolly explained how important the Imagination Library is to her. In 1995, Dolly Parton created Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for children living in Sevier County, Tennessee. She was initially 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.
Dolly Parton and First Lady DeWine were each 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!” said Dolly Parton.
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