The program partnered with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in 2019 to take the program statewide. State Lawmakers provided $5 million in funding to match county funds so the books are provided at no cost to Ohio families, a release said. Ohio is the largest among seven states to offer the program statewide.
“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," Mike DeWine said.
Currently 244,885 Ohio children under age five (34 percent of eligible children) receive the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library books, the release said.
To enroll, parents and caregivers can sign up at OhioImaginationLibrary.org.