Imagination Library West Virginia Celebration with Dolly Parton

The West Virginia Department of Education and the June Harless Center at Marshall University welcomed American singer-songwriter, actress, and icon Dolly Parton to Charleston, WV, to celebrate statewide participation in her Imagination Library program on Aug. 9, 2022.

Dolly Parton singing “Coat of Many Colors” during “An Evening with Dolly” on Aug. 9, 2022.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library launched in 1995 and has since become the preeminent global early childhood book gifting program. Registered children from birth to age five will receive a free, high-quality, age appropriate book in the mail each month, aka “a book from the book lady,” as some children affectionately call it.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is the flagship program of the Dollywood Foundation and has gifted more than 150 million free books in Australia, Canada, The Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Dr. Brad Smith, Marshall University President, and Dolly Parton talking during “An Evening with Dolly” in a fireside chat.

Dolly Parton gifted the state of West Virginia an “exaggerated” version of her book, “Coat of Many Colors,” during “An Evening with Dolly.”  This book is one of many available to eligible children through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

West Virginia has been a participating state since 2007, with more than 4 million books mailed to West Virginia children since then. As of Aug. 2022, more than 47,000 eligible children are registered for the program. West Virginia is one of 11 states to achieve statewide participation and joined this prestigious list in July of 2021.

Dolly Parton receiving Nicholas County Career and Technical students’ gift during “An Evening with Dolly.”
L-R: Dolly Parton; Clayton Burch, Superintendent of the WV Schools for the Deaf and the Blind; West Virginia First Lady Cathy Justice; West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.

Nicholas County Career and Technical Education students made a wooden cut-out plaque of the state of West Virginia emblazoned with the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library logo. Dolly Parton was given this gift as a “thank you” on behalf of all West Virginia families for her Imagination Library.

For more information about the Imagination Library

To learn more about the Imagination Library or to enroll a child, visit the June Harless Center website or WVDE Imagination Library page.