Governor Kelly Welcomes Dolly Parton to Kansas for the Imagination Library Statewide Celebration

~~Proclaims August 14 ‘Imagination Library of Kansas Day’ in the State~~

OVERLAND PARK – Governor Laura Kelly today welcomed iconic singer-songwriter and early childhood literacy advocate 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! Today, Kansas is one of just 15 states where the program is available statewide, with more coming onboard later this year.

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 Parton 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 the time to help our state celebrate this exciting milestone of being able to provide the gift of reading for children and families in every part of 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 Parton and Governor Kelly where Parton 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 Parton signing “Coat of Many Colors” and “Try.” 
“All children in Kansas should be able to have the same opportunity that my sons have,” Representative Troy Waymaster said.  “All three of our sons participate in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, thank you, Dolly Parton, for providing the gift of reading for all children ages zero to five in the state of Kansas.”

To enroll 0-5 children for free books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, click here. The following photos from today’s event are available for media use: 

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library 

Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has gifted over 200 million free books in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland. This is achieved through funding shared by The Dollywood Foundation and Local Community Partners.  The Imagination Library mails more than 2 million high-quality, age-appropriate books directly to children’s homes each month. Each child enrolled in the program receives one book per month from birth to age five – at no cost to families.  Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading and inspiring children to Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More. 

The program’s impact has been widely researched, and results demonstrate its positive impact on early childhood development and literacy skills. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information, please visit