Dolly Parton visits Kansas to celebrate the availability of her Imagination Library to all children under five in the state.
Governor Laura Kelly today welcomed Dolly Parton to Kansas to celebrate the statewide expansion of her Imagination Library program. The celebration comes after the announcement last month that every child in Kansas is now eligible to participate in the program to receive one free, high-quality, age-appropriate book per month until their fifth birthday. That’s a total of 60 books from birth to age 5!
“Well Kansas, we did it! I’m so thankful for Governor Kelly, Representative Waymaster and the countless friends and local partners across Kansas who have made this dream come true,” Dolly said. “Let’s celebrate by registering as many children and families as we can to receive the gift of Imagination Library books right to their home each month. Together, we can inspire children across Kansas to love books and reading, and that’s a gift that will last a lifetime.”
This statewide expansion of the Imagination Library was made possible through the additional funding that was included in Governor Kelly’s budget proposal at the start of the 2023 legislative session and was passed by the bipartisan Kansas legislature.
“I’m honored that Dolly has taken time to help our state celebrate this exciting milestone – being able to provide the gift of reading for children and families across Kansas,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I urge all eligible families to take advantage of this program and to sign their children up for the Imagination Library of Kansas.”
This was a closed event to nearly 500 supporters of the program and special guests hosted by the Imagination Library of Kansas. The event featured a sit-down conversation between Dolly and Governor Kelly, where Dolly also presented the governor with a copy of her book, “Coat of Many Colors.” Governor Kelly also declared August 14 “Imagination Library of Kansas Day.” The celebration was emceed by Representative Troy Waymaster, whose three children are all enrolled in the Imagination Library Program. The evening concluded with Dolly singing “Coat of Many Colors” and “Try.”
Over 211 Million Books Gifted Since Inception
Since the launch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in 1995, the program has gifted over 211 million free, high-quality books to children in five countries. Pratt, Kansas, has the distinction of starting the first Imagination Library program outside of Tennessee, where Dolly originally launched the program. In Kansas, more than 61,000 children are enrolled in the program and nearly 4 million books have been delivered since the first local partner began providing books in 2005.