COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine have announced two major milestones with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio, the free book program available to Ohio families with children under the age of 5.
More than 50% of eligible children – birth to age 5 – are now enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio, which means 362,295 Ohio children will receive a free book in the mail this month.
Additionally, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio has mailed more than 10 million books to Ohio children since 2019. When Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio was established in 2019, the program was only available in pockets of Ohio. The governor and first lady worked to expand the program and in late 2020, it became available to all Ohio families in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio has been Fran DeWine’s priority initiative during the past four years.
“It’s wonderful to travel Ohio’s 88 counties, read an Imagination Library book to children, and hear about the impact these books are having on Ohio’s families,” said Fran DeWine. “And research shows these books spark interest in reading and improve kindergarten readiness. Now that we’ve hit more than 50 percent enrollment, I will continue working to enroll even more families.”
Fran DeWine has helped open many of the Storybook Trails with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) at state parks. There are currently 20 half-mile Storybook Trails located in Ohio parks, each with child-height panels featuring pages of a book and activity. Nearly all of the Storybook Trails feature an Imagination Library book.
In August, Dolly Parton joined in celebrating the program’s growth and success by coming to Columbus. At the event, Fran DeWine hosted a fireside chat with Dolly about her passion for starting the program, which can be viewed on Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio’s YouTube page.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio has 71 affiliates that administer the program on a county level, cover 50% of the cost of books, and build partnerships throughout the community. The remaining cost of each book is covered by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio, which ensures that the program remains free for all Ohio families. Through a partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, each Imagination Library book is $2.20. A child enrolled at birth will receive all 60 books in the program until his or her fifth birthday. Books are age-appropriate and mailed to a child’s home every month.
Parents and guardians interested in enrolling their child in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio can visit OhioImaginationLibrary.org.