Country music legend Dolly Parton joined Maine Gov. Janet Mills Wednesday in highlighting the state’s efforts to provide free books to young children across the state.

Mills spoke about the effort during a news conference in Bangor. Parton delivered her endorsement in a prerecorded video.

Mills announced last year that the state would join the singer-songwriter’s Imagination Library, an early childhood literacy initiative that mails 2 million free books to babies and children under the age of 5 every month.

“My mother introduced me to the library, encouraged me to read books of every kind, and instilled in me a lifelong love of reading. I’m thrilled to help expand the Dolly Parton Imagination Library across our state so that thousands of Maine children can strengthen their reading skills and learn to love reading,” Mills said Wednesday. “I thank the one-and-only Dolly Parton for working with my administration to bring this important program to Maine.”

“A lot of good people worked to make this possible, but I want to send my personal thanks to Gov. Janet Mills who helped make this dream a reality for children and families across Maine,” Parton said. “Happy reading, Maine.”


Earlier this year, the Legislature approved Mills’ request for a $200,000 investment to implement the program, which is administered by the Maine State Library.

More than 4,500 eligible children in Maine are now receiving free books through 12 partners across the state. The Dollywood Foundation and the Maine State Library are working with libraries, community nonprofits, the Maine Department of Education, and school systems to establish and expand the program statewide.

The implementation has taken longer than originally hoped. When announced in July 2022, the program aimed to send 106,000 books from Parton’s title collection to more than 14,000 Maine children by the end of 2023 in an effort to boost young children’s development and literacy.


Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: