The program has already given away more than 176 million books!
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Dolly Parton reading a book
Credit: Getty Images / Shannon Finney

If there's one thing Dolly Parton should be remembered for other than her big hair, big personality, and big voice, it's her big heart. Over the years, the selfless philanthropist has donated millions to various causes, including natural disaster relief and the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Despite her many philanthropic pursuits, education has always been at the top of Parton's list. In 1995, she founded the Imagination Library, a program that provides free books to children ages 0-5, regardless of family income. The nonprofit honors Parton's father, who never learned to read. In the 25-plus years since she started the landmark nonprofit, Imagination Library has donated more than 176 million books to more than 2 million children across five countries. 

And the program shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Recently, Franklin County, Kentucky became the newest Imagination Library location thanks to the combined efforts of Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman and Franklin County leaders who helped launch the program in Frankfort. Currently, Imagination Library is offered in 76 of Kentucky's 120 counties.

Every book donated brings Parton one step closer to her goal of cultivating a love for reading in every child across the world. 

"When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true," Parton writes on the Imagination Library website. "I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer. The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world."

WATCH: Kelsea Ballerini Joins Dolly Parton for "Run, Rose, Run" Audiobook 

While we may be a little over the age limit to take part in Parton's Imagination Library, we can still benefit from the icon's love of reading and writing thanks to her new book Run, Rose, Run, which she co-authored with James Patterson. And you know we'll be watching the movie once it's out, too!