Fans defend Dolly Parton after legislator comments about Imagination Library

Dolly Parton
Posted at 7:28 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 20:59:49-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — There's a social media firestorm as fans "Defend Dolly," Dolly Parton, of course after a Kentucky state senator's comments concerning her long-running Imagination Library. Some said this is part of an ongoing political debate surrounding book selection.

"For him to hint or insinuate anything sinister, inappropriate for children just upset me to no end," said singer-songwriter and actress Stella Parton.

Stella Parton told NewsChannel 5 she's going to defend sister Dolly Parton after comments made at a Kentucky legislative committee meeting this week.

The meeting included a discussion for a Kentucky partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library nonprofit, which gives free books to children up to 5-years-old. In the discussion, Kentucky State Senator Stephen Meredith asks to modify the language in a bill to have subject appropriate books.

"I've seen some literature for preschoolers that I think is inappropriate for that age," Meredith said in the meeting.

Meredith ultimately voted in favor of the bill and said he admires the program, but he expressed concerns about staff changes in the future at the Imagination Library.

"I am very offended by it," Stella Parton said. "For him to cast a hint of aspersion against a book program that is a nonprofit and has been doing great work since 1995, I have just been incensed by it."

Representatives for The Imagination Library did not return a request for comment by news time, but their site explains the books are picked by a Blue Ribbon Book Selection Committee. You can see the committee members and read their backgrounds on the site.

Stella Parton said stories like this upset her because of her family's emphasis on education.

"Here's the thing, my father was illiterate," she said. "It plagued him his entire life because he was not afforded the opportunity to get an education. We all feel, all 11 of us, we all feel so gifted with being able to read. For anyone to question anything as well-intentioned as what my sister has done, no, I was not going to stand for it."