Ohio Governor's Imagination Library Gets $5 Million In State Budget
Among the many education programs in the latest state budget is the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library.
The literacy program mails children under five free books in certain communities around Ohio. It was originally started by country singer Dolly Parton.
The $5 million will go into a matching fund for all the Imagination Libraries across the state, doubling the money for the current 54 Ohio affiliates of the program.
The goal of the Imagination Libraries is to foster an early love for reading and prepare children for kindergarten.
Bob Paponetti with The Literacy Cooperative says the additional funds will be a game changer and provide books to more Cleveland children.
“Currently here in Cuyahoga County we have about 8,300 children receiving books,” said Paponetti. “So, half of the cost of those books will now be covered by the state which will really help extend you know some of the funding and funding commitments we have our partners to hopefully expand to other areas of the county and then also help with the sustainability of the program. “
Paponetti says the program is currently available to children living in certain east side towns in Cuyahoga County including East Cleveland, Euclid and Shaker Heights. He hopes with the additional dollars they can expand to the west side.
First Lady, Fran DeWine, says there needs to be more publicity about the programs so more children and their families sign up.
“We have to let people know about it,” said DeWine. “And we have to find all different ways of signing up these children from babies. We know sometimes hospitals where the babies are delivered we can sign them up. We can sign them up at preschools. We can sign them up at churches, you know, daycares libraries. So there's lot of ways and we're going to kind of work a lot of different ways to let people know about the program.”
Since Dolly Parton started the Imagination Library in 1995, the organization has mailed more than 120 million books to children all over the world.