Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine has announced new records regarding participation in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio: 60% of Ohio’s eligible children – from birth to age 5 – enrolled in the program in January, which means 400,611 children received the books.
“I’m so thankful to all of our partners in 88 counties for helping us to bring these books to kids, at no cost to their families,” said Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine. “We’ve come so far from the 13 percent enrollment when we started the effort to create a statewide program in 2019. And, of course, I am extremely grateful for Dolly Parton, who has sparked such an amazing opportunity for our little ones to learn before they start kindergarten.”
Dolly Parton came to Ohio in 2022 to celebrate Ohio’s aggressive push to make Imagination Library books available to young children in every single Ohio village, township, city, and county.
Dolly Parton attended First Lady Fran DeWine’s 2022 Luncheon to support the Imagination Library.
“Congratulations to First Lady Fran DeWine and to all of our Ohio program partners for reaching these amazing milestones!” said Dolly Parton. “Thank you for everything you do to support my Imagination Library and inspire a love of reading in children across the state.”
Additionally, First Lady DeWine announced that more than 15 million Imagination Library books have been mailed to Ohio children since 2019, when Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio was first established. Prior to the statewide program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was available in pockets of the state with only 13% of eligible children enrolled.
Ohio continues to have the most children enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program among U.S. states. In total, 770,294 children in Ohio either are currently participating in or have participated in the program during the past five years.
First Lady DeWine celebrated this 60% statewide enrollment milestone by thanking local program partners with gifts of the First Lady’s Buckeye Brownies, as well as Dolly Parton’s Hello Dolly Bars.
“I make my special Buckeye Brownies for our family celebrations, and I wanted to share our tradition with our local program partners who are working tirelessly to make families aware of the Imagination Library’s free books,” said First Lady DeWine.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio has 70 local program partner organizations which administer the program at the county-level, covering half of the book cost. Funding from the other half of the book cost comes from the Ohio General Assembly, ensuring that the program remains free for all families.
The Imagination Library is the flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, Dolly’s nonprofit organization founded in 1988. The Imagination Library has become the preeminent, early childhood book-gifting program in five countries. Inspired by her father’s inability to read or write, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading and learning by gifting books, free of charge to families.
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