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Event for Dolly Parton’s Imagination library

When my children were in preschool, they regularly received gifts from the Queen of Country herself.

Every month, like clockwork, a book arrived in the mail from an international initiative called Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (, founded by Parton in 1995. DPIL provides one free, age-appropriate book every month to enrolled children between birth and age 5.

Parton’s organization pays all administrative costs and overhead, selects books, and coordinates shipping. DPIL works with local champions who promote the program, enroll children, and pay approximately $2.20 per child monthly to cover wholesale books and mailing costs.

In 2018, United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties became that champion for early readers in its service areas. Over 2,200 young children receive the monthly gift of reading in Monongalia County alone.

Our local branch of the United Way, headquartered at 278C Spruce St., invests in the community by supporting residents’ education, health, and financial needs. The United Way funds many programs with special events such as the annual Blue and Gold Mine sale and 5k races. The DPIL program gets its own special fundraising event.

The United Way will hold its 5th Annual Power of the Purse Fundraiser June 22 at the Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown. General Admission tickets are $100 each and include entry, food, drinks, entertainment, and sponsorship of a child for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for one year. To further fund the program, there will be over a dozen silent auctions of mid- to high-end purses during the event.

While spring cleaning recently, I came across several Imagination Library books my children received during their younger years. Some became favorites, and others we read together only a few times. However, each was an opportunity for my kids to learn and grow through reading, and for that, I am thankful to Dolly Parton — and the United Way.

EVA MURPHY is a freelance business writer for The Dominion Post. She writes a column on businesses, churches and other entities in the city. To suggest a topic, email her at