(COLUMBUS) – Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is pleased to announce the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library Program is now available to every Ohio child. Partnerships and funding have been established in each of Ohio’s 88 counties, so that all children who enroll – from birth to age five – can receive a free book in the mail every single month to help accelerate their development.
“We are thrilled to have a statewide program now in Ohio, which means every single child in Ohio can receive the benefits of the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library,” said Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine. “Brain science shows a child’s brain is already 80 percent developed by the time he or she turns three years old. Those first three years are so critical to their development.”
The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library Program partnered with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in 2019 to take the program statewide. State lawmakers provided $5 million dollars in funding to match county funds so that these books ($2.10 each) are provided at no cost to Ohio families. Non-profit organizations in each county administer the program. Ohio is the largest among seven states to offer the program statewide. The other states are Tennessee, where Parton started the program in 2004, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Delaware, and North Carolina. The program is also in Washington, D.C.
“Fran and I hope the Imagination Library will help set up kids on a successful path to kindergarten, so they may all be at the same starting line, and not behind,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “During these tough times in the COVID-19 pandemic, children continue to learn, grow, and dream. Having free books in the home certainly might be even more important at this time.”
“We know that children who are exposed to language and reading -- starting when they are born – have higher literacy rates and greater academic achievements when they are older compared with children who don’t have that early benefit. A child enrolled in the Ohio Imagination Library Program at birth can receive up to 60 books by the time he or she turns five years old, setting them up for success in kindergarten and beyond. It’s a simple but a very important thing we can do for our kids, especially now in the face of a global pandemic.”
Currently 244,885 Ohio children under age five (34 percent of eligible children) receive the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library books.
To watch a video about the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, click here.
To enroll children, parents and caregivers can sign up at OhioImaginationLibrary.org.