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A conservative lawmaker raised fears about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Fans weren’t happy.

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March 8, 2022, 1:05pm

Dolly Parton fans—and Stella Parton, Dolly’s sister—have issued stern rejoinders to a conservative lawmaker who claimed Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which sends over one million free books to month to children ages 0-5, could be sending children age-inappropriate content.

At a meeting held to create a partnership with Kentucky and Imagination Library, as WTVF reported, Kentucky State Senator Stephen Meredith asked to change the language of the bill to make sure the subjects of the books were “age-appropriate”: “I’ve seen some literature that’s considered preschool that I truly think is inappropriate content,” he said during the meeting.

Though Meredith’s request may seem sensible at first glance, it comes during a wave of legislation that seeks to limit teaching and learning on topics including racism, sexism, American history, and LGBTQ+ issues. In fact, Meredith recently spoke in favor of one such “gag order” bill, which would, among other provisions, ban teachers from sharing facts and history about race. This type of material is what would be banned by introducing “age-appropriate” language in the bill.

Following the meeting, Stella Parton, Dolly Parton’s sister, took to Twitter to eviscerate Meredith and defend the Imagination Library:

Dolly Parton fans expressed their support, making Dolly Parton a trending topic on Twitter.

“For [Meredith] to hint or insinuate something sinister, inappropriate for children just upset me to no end,” Stella Parton told WTVF. “For him to cast a hint of aspersion against a program that is a nonprofit and has been doing great work since 1995, I have just been incensed by it . . . Here’s the thing, my father was illiterate. It plagued him his entire life because he was not afforded the opportunity to get an education. We all feel, all eleven of us, so gifted with being able to read.”

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