Legendary singer-songwriter Dolly Parton visited the Library on Feb. 28 to donate a book: the 100 millionth given away by her organization Imagination Library.
For more than 20 years, Parton and Imagination Library have given books to children around the world. Along the way, she earned the nickname “book lady” from kids who received her books.
Hoping to spark a lifelong love of reading in children, the Imagination Library each month mails a specially selected, age-appropriate book to more than 1 million children in participating communities from birth until they begin kindergarten. The book arrives in the mail addressed not to the parent, but the child.
“To them, it’s personal,” Parton said. “They’re going to take that in the house and make somebody read it to them.”
In conversation with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Parton described her own childhood experiences with books growing up poor in the Great Smoky Mountains and the importance of reading for children.
Afterward, she read “Coat of Many Colors,” a book based on the classic song she composed nearly 50 years ago, to a group of children attending the event.
“We are so pleased to be part of a milestone,” Hayden said upon accepting Parton’s donation. “We are humbled that that book will join with millions of others at the Library of Congress.”