The organizers of the Patrick County Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Courtesy of Patrick County Chamber of Commerce.
The organizers of the Patrick County Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Courtesy of Patrick County Chamber of Commerce.

Here’s a roundup of education briefs around Southwest and Southside:

Imagination Library coming to Patrick County

Patrick County will soon have a branch of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Patrick County is the local chapter of a national program that will provide free books to children from birth to age 5. Funds raised locally ensure that every child in Patrick County that meets the age requirements will have a book mailed to them each month. It is a collaborative effort between the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce, One Family Productions, Step Inc., Stuart Rotary and community members.

Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has given nearly 200 million free books in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Ireland. The Imagination Library mails more than 2 million age-appropriate books each month.

Since starting the fundraising campaign, more than $6,000 has been collected for the Patrick County effort.

Applications for enrollment are now available at the chamber office and the library and on the chamber’s website. Once the registration is returned to the chamber, it can take a couple of months to process through the national system.

Step Inc. is the fiscal agent and will be collecting donations for the program. To contribute, make checks payable to STEP Inc., noting DPIL in the memo line, and mail them to 200 Dent St. Rocky Mount, VA 24151. More information can be found at, or call the office 276-694-6012.

The formal kick-off for the program will be 2-4 p.m. March 5 at the Reynolds Homestead. For more on the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, see this background story: “Dolly is part of the answer: Advocates spread Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library free book program throughout Virginia.”

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David Driscoll. Courtesy of UVA Wise.
David Driscoll. Courtesy of UVA Wise.

Driscoll named head of Healthy Appalachia Institute at UVA Wise

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise has announced that David Driscoll, who has spearheaded similar community public health and research initiatives around the U.S., has joined the college as director of the Healthy Appalachia Institute. 

Most recently, Driscoll served as associate professor of health education and the assistant dean and director of the Office of Research at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine. 

For the past five years, he’s supported the biomedical research portfolio of the School of Medicine, which includes roughly $150 million in National Institute of Health funding. 

In his new role, he will lead the Healthy Appalachia Institute’s research portfolio and identify, develop and implement population health programs collaborating with a vast number of community, business, health and education partners in the region. In the fall, Driscoll will begin teaching public health at the college. 

Driscoll holds a doctorate in applied anthropology with an external specialization in social marketing and a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in epidemiology from the University of South Florida. He has a master’s degree in anthropology from Wake Forest University and a bachelor’s degree in international studies from George Mason University. He grew up in Floyd County.

Formed in 2008, the Healthy Appalachia Institute’s mission is to improve health, education and prosperity of the region.

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Forest Library offers free Black History Month events

Singer and Liberty University Assistant Professor E. Daryl Duff will visit the Forest Library in Bedford County this weekend to speak about the history, development and impact of the Black church and African American music.

Duff will also sing during his visit to the library at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 18.

Duff has served 23 years as a soloist and vocalist with the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters Chorus. He has been a featured soloist on seven U.S. Navy Band recordings and several U.S. Navy Band concerts televised by the Armed Forces Network.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged, and anyone age 12 and up is welcome to join.

On Feb. 25 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the library will host a session on how to paint like Alma Woodsey Thomas.

Thomas (1891-1978), who is known for her abstract paintings resembling Byzantine mosaics, used acrylic paint to capture scenes in nature and express emotions to create mesmerizing works of art.

All painting supplies will be provided. This program is free and open to the public. Registration is required, and anyone ages 12 and up are welcome to join.

For additional information or questions, please visit the library’s website or call 540-425-7002.