Numerous Delaware County organizations and businesses have signed up with Grove Rotary to celebrate “Dolly Day” on January 19, the singer’s birthday, highlighting Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program. Grove Rotary partners with the Imagination Library to offer a free book mailed every month to all children under age 5 in Delaware County.
“Our local community groups are planning some very creative ways to celebrate Dolly and the literacy program on her birthday,” said Nick Bowers, who heads up marketing and communication for the Rotary Imagination Library Committee. “Our main goal is to raise awareness of the program throughout Delaware County. We want to get the word out about this opportunity for all children under 5, regardless of family income.”
Bowers said county businesses and Grove community organizations and businesses will compete for prizes for best theme and most donations raised for the program. For example, for those competing for best theme, the prize will be bragging rights, a traveling trophy and catered luncheon. The group raising the most donations will enjoy bragging rights and a cookie party, with coffee donated by Starbucks coffee shop of Grove.
“We are looking forward to seeing ‘Dolly’ everywhere on her special day,” said Clayton Baker, who coordinates fundraising for the Rotary Imagination Library Committee. “Not only will ‘Dolly Day’ be a lot of fun, we hope it will draw attention to this important program promoting literacy in our county.”
About 20 groups have signed up to participate, with others expected. For example, three libraries in the county have special plans for “Dolly Day.” Grove Public Library and the Delaware County Library in Jay teamed up to offer several coordinated activities all day at their respective locations, including birthday cupcakes, display of Dolly books and movies, Dolly photo booth, a bingo scavenger hunt, and storytime reading of “The Little Engine That Could,” the first book every child receives from the Imagination Library.
Visitors to the Kansas Library in Kansas, Oklahoma, will enjoy a storytime with Dolly-related books, as well as a photo booth and staff dress-up.
Grand Savings Bank will decorate for Dolly Day and make a donation to the Delaware County Imagination Library. Visitors at the Grove branch of BancFirst will be greeted by costumed employees and enjoy Dolly cookies and punch. Arvest Bank of Grove plans to invite donations to the Imagination Library. Rotarian Jack Wimer promises that “Dolly” will be greeting visitors to his office at Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network in Grove.
At the Grove Playmakers Cabaret Dinner murder mystery on January 19, a special guest dressed as Dolly will make an appearance. Grand Lake Casino plans to offer a Dolly-themed photo shoot. Nevermore Books of Grove plans an in-store promotion with a donation jar.
The Regatta at Grand Lake restaurant in Grove will sponsor a Trivia Night on January 18, with 10 percent of the proceeds going to Delaware County Imagination Library. The Grove Area Chamber of Commerce invites the public to drop by for “Dolly Day” refreshments and photo booth fun, as well as to enjoy decorations and employee costumes. The Chamber also will accept donations for Imagination Library.
EyeCare of Grand Lake plans to help publicize the Delaware County Imagination Library and make a donation to the program. Integris Grove Hospital will participate with Dolly-themed decorations, help promote the Imagination Library, and collect donations.
The Cloud K-9 Grooming Salon & Retreat of Grove will celebrate Dolly Day in “pawsitively fabulous” ways. Any visitors who donate $10 or more to the Delaware County Imagination Library will receive a free upgraded spa service for their pets. Cloud K-9’s furry clients will be featured in a fashion shoot as an ode to Dolly, while employees will be wearing pink and dressing the part.
The Grove Upper Elementary School will emphasize literacy with various activities and reading time. Grove’s Early Childhood Center will hold a Western dress-up day and show a video of Dolly explaining the Imagination Library program.
Parton launched the Imagination Library in 1995 in her home county in Tennessee. Since its beginning, the literacy program has spread nationally and internationally. The Library has given more than 200 million free books to children, through funding shared by The Dollywood Foundation and local community partners like Grove Rotary Club.
Grove Rotary launched the program for Delaware County in February 2023 and has reached over 1,000 children with free books every month. The Imagination Library partnership is among several educational programs supported by Rotary. Every year, the club provides free dictionaries for third-graders in the county. Rotarians also volunteer to read with young children in Grove’s Early Childhood Center. In addition, the club raises funds to award college and vocational scholarships each year.
Children must be registered by a parent or guardian in order to receive the Imagination Library books. There is no charge to register or receive the books. Age-appropriate books are mailed directly to the homes of registered children each month.
Parents or guardians may register their children on-line by filling out a brief form at www.imaginationlibrary.com. They also may register in person by completing a printed registration form available at various public locations, such as libraries. Completed paper registration forms may be mailed to Grove Rotary Club, P.O. Box 452286, Grove, OK 74345.