Community Organizations Celebrate Success of Early Literacy Efforts

Greene County, OH: Soin Medical Center and United Way of the Greater Dayton Area were both awarded the Kay Webster Early Literacy Award for supporting the launch and continued success of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Greene County. The award was presented on the behalf of Greene County Public Library Foundation by the library director, Karl Colón. During his remarks, Colón noted how proud Kay Webster, the namesake of the award, was of the program. Webster was a long-time children’s librarian with Greene County who passed away a few months ago, and the driving force behind starting the program locally.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails one age-appropriate book to any child ages 0–5 per month. Soin and United Way have been major supporters since the program’s inception in 2013. Since the launch of Greene County’s affiliate of the Imagination Library, more than a quarter million books have been sent to more than 10,000 Greene County children. The number of Ohio children signed up to receive books has grown from 3,000 in 2013 to 93,000 today. Many of the Ohio affiliates attribute their success to Greene County, specifically Kay Webster.

First Lady of Ohio Fran DeWine was a featured speaker during the event. She stressed the importance of early literacy efforts. Expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is included in the governor’s proposed budget. “People ask me what my initiatives are and my first initiative is to get books to children,” said DeWine. She sees the positive impact of the program locally, stating, “I don’t think there’s any other county that does a better job than Greene County.”

To learn more about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, visit the Greene County Public Library Foundation website:


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