COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine's Imagination Library program has now expanded to all 88 counties in the state of Ohio.
According to a release from Gov. DeWine's office, children who enroll in the program in any Ohio county will receive a free book in the mail each month from birth through the age of 5.
Gov. DeWine said in a released statement, “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. 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," Gov. DeWine added. "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.”
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine said in a released statement, "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. 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.”
Gov. DeWine's Imagination Library program teamed up with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library last year in order to expand into all of Ohio's 88 counties.
Ohio lawmakers provided $5 million in funding to match county funds so that the books are able to be provided to families at no cost.
The program is run by nonprofit organizations in each county.
Ohio is among seven states to offer the program statewide. Other states that offer the program to its residents include Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Delaware and North Carolina. The program is also available in Washington, D.C.
A total of 244,885 Ohio children under age 5, which is 34 percent of eligible children, currently receive books from Gov. DeWine's Imagination Library.
Click here to view a video about the Imagination Library.
Click here to sign up for the Ohio Imagination Library.