Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Dolly Parton signs an oversized copy of her book Coat of Many Colors as a gift to the children of Delaware at the Wilmington Library

One of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's newest inductees was in Delaware on Thursday, May 5, 2022, but it had nothing to do with her music.

Dolly Parton was at the Wilmington Library to celebrate Delaware's statewide coverage in her Imagination Library program which provides free books on a monthly basis to children from birth to five years old.

Parton sat down for a question and answer session with Governor John Carney and First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney during which she acknowledged her latest honor.

"I never thought of myself as a rock star," said the 11-time Grammy Award winner. "When people used to say to me 'oh you're a rock star, you rock,' I just thought they were bragging on me like I was cool or something. But danged if they didn't actually put me in there! That's a great honor, I didn't expect that."

Parton said of all her honors and awards, the thing she's most proud of is the Imagination Library which she said was inspired by her father who was a farmer, but who couldn't read or write.

"'Cause the schoolhouses were usually a long ways off and they had a whole bunch of kids, so all the kids used to have to go to work in the fields, and doing whatever they could to try to help support the rest of the family," said Parton, "and my Dad was always bothered by that. I loved my Daddy and I was bothered by the fact that he was bothered by it.

"So I came up with the idea to do something great where children could learn to read at a very early age in their most impressionable years," said Parton, "so I came up with the idea to start this little program."

That 'little program' now provides about two million books a month, free of charge, to children around the world.

Governor and Mrs. Carney presented Parton a plush baby Blue Hen from Delaware's library program along with a box of Dolle's salt water taffy.

In return, Parton autographed an oversized copy of her book Coat of Many Colors to the people of Delaware.

It's an autobiographical story of a coat her mother made for her from clothing scraps. She then sang the song of the same title while playing a multi-colored guitar.

After a standing ovation, Parton sang the song "Try" before departing for Arkansas where she was to celebrate that state's involvement in the Imagination Library.

TrafficWatch & News Reporter for WDEL/WSTW 1989 - 1993 and back again for Round Two starting in February, 2015 after spending a decade in Chicago and another six years in Boston.