And Dolly isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

By Meghan Overdeep
December 19, 2019

For a woman who has made a career out of being over-the-top, Dolly Parton certainly isn’t flashy when it comes to her philanthropic endeavors—just one more thing to add to our never-ending list of reasons we love her.

Founded in 1995 as a tribute to her father who couldn’t read, Parton’s Imagination Library has been mailing free books to children for almost a quarter of a century. And we’re not talking about a handful of books either. The Imagination Library gave out its one hundred millionth book last year. One hundred million books!

“I never thought about being ‘the book lady,’” she said of her nickname during a Library of Congress event in 2018. “The painted lady, yes, the overexaggerated lady. That goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover.”

But Dolly didn’t slow down there. In fact, she’s been quietly ramping things up, mailing more than one million books per month across the U.S., Australia, Britain, Canada, and Ireland. And a quick check of the numbers shows that the number of books gifted increases every single month. In November alone, the Imagination Library shipped more than 1,464,343 books, bringing the current total up to an eye-popping 129,412,491!

And of all she’s accomplished throughout her decades-long career, getting books into the hands of the world’s children is what she’s proudest of.

"If I'm remembered 100 years from now, I hope it will be not for looks but for books," she once famously said.

Keep up the good work, Dolly!

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