PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Country superstar Dolly Parton is visiting the state of Washington to celebrate her expanding book-gifting program, but for now, there’s no guarantee the singer will be visiting from “9 to 5.”
In 1995, she launched the Imagination Library as a tribute to her father — someone who she said was the smartest man she had ever known, but who had never learned to read.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library promotes literacy to young children regardless of their upbringing, by sending a free book to kids up to age 5 every month.
The book-gifting program launched in Parton’s hometown of Sevier County, Tenn. nearly 30 years ago, and has since expanded across the U.S. and other countries including Canada and the Republic of Ireland.
In Washington, the Imagination Library began expanding to all 39 counties just last year. According to the organization, more than 65,000 children are now enrolled in the program and more than 1.6 million books have been distributed statewide.
The singer’s upcoming visit to Olympia will honor exactly that.
“We welcome the great Dolly Parton to celebrate our statewide program and promote registration for our youngest learners into the Imagination Library,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. “It is important to get high-quality books to children from a young age and ensure that their families, and their unique races, ethnicities and identities are well-represented among the selection of books.”
The invite-only event falls on Tuesday, Aug. 15, which will officially be declared “Imagination Library of Washington Day” by Gov. Inslee and Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck.
The library’s Facebook will livestream the celebration starting at 2:30 p.m.
The event will include a fireside chat with Parton, an intimate performance, and recognition of the individuals who have spearheaded the Washington program.