Over 200,000 Ohio children joined Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in less than a year. Ohio’s First Lady Fran DeWine announced the impressive numbers on Monday.
Currently, 206,463 Ohio kids aged 5 and under have enrolled in the Ohio Imagination Library. Currently, 78 out of Ohio’s 88 counties participate. Crawford, Ven Wert, and Mercer counties plan to launch the program this month. Just seven out of 88 counties have yet to join the program. — Ashland, Columbiana, Lake, Ottawa, Richland, Sandusky, and Seneca.
The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library works in conjunction with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to offer any child from birth to age five in Scioto County a free, new book from the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library every month regardless of family income. Dolly Parton launched the program back in 1995 in her birthplace of Sevier County, Tennessee and over the years it has expanded across the United State and to Canada, the UK, Australia, Ireland. Over 130 million books have been mailed to children.
“Thanks to dedicated Ohio lawmakers, who are investing in our kids with matching funding, and our wonderful local partners, the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library has made outstanding progress in its first year,” said Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine. “But we still have more work to do. Mike and I look forward to the day that every young child in Ohio– no matter what city, county, village or township that child lives in — has access to the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library books.”
Library Visits A Hit
Before COVID-19 interrupted her efforts, Mrs. DeWine toured the state visiting libraries and schools to promote the program. That included a visit to the Portsmouth Public Library back in January.
“I really enjoyed visiting with our local partners and families in 16 Ohio counties between January and March of this year,” said Mrs. DeWine. “Of course, that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. But we’ve continued working to find county partners during these recent months because we know this program works. Young children are excited to receive the book each month in the mail, which is addressed to them. And just having these books in the home promotes a love of learning and family bonding that we know adds up to preparing children for kindergarten. I encourage all Ohio children to sign up for these free books!”