Ohio first lady encourages more children to enroll in Imagination Library

Ohio first lady Fran DeWine reads to children during a Dec. 18, 2019, visit to Dayton Children’s Hospital. SARAH CAVENDER/STAFF
Ohio first lady Fran DeWine reads to children during a Dec. 18, 2019, visit to Dayton Children’s Hospital. SARAH CAVENDER/STAFF

Ohio first lady Fran DeWine is calling for more children to enroll in Ohio’s Imagination Library Program.

Her message comes ahead the premiere of a documentary, “The Library That Dolly Built,” which offers a behind-the-scenes look at the program started in 1995 by country music singer Dolly Parton to encourage reading to preschool children.

ExploreImagination Library Program available to all 88 Ohio counties

In 2019, the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library Program partnered with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to spread the program throughout Ohio. Partnerships and funding have been established in each of Ohio’s 88 counties so that all children who enroll — from birth to age 5 — receive a free book in the mail each month, according to a release from the governor’s office.

“Dolly Parton and her dedication to children’s literacy and this program is so inspiring,” Fran DeWine stated. “We share a belief that the gift of reading is one of the best things you can give a child. We are proud of all the partners in Ohio that have ensured that every single eligible Ohio child can receive these books every month.”

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There are 225,672 Ohio children younger than 5, or only 35% of those eligible, enrolled to receive the monthly books. Worldwide, nearly 2 million children receive free monthly books from the Imagination Library, the release stated.

“The Library That Dolly Built” will be featured at 7 p.m. Wednesday on Parton’s Imagination Library Facebook page. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Parton, who also will perform some music.

To enroll children in Ohio’s Imagination Library, parents and caregivers can sign up at OhioImaginationLibrary.org.

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