GALLIPOLIS — Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine announced Monday the launch of the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library (OGIL) in Gallia County.
In Gallia County, around 2,000 children are eligible to enroll in the OGIL. Any child from birth to age five can enroll to receive books from OGIL. After enrollment, children will begin receiving a new book each month, at no cost to their family, until they reach the age of five.
DeWine read to local children at Bossard Library and was introduced to visitors by Library Director Debbie Saunders.
“I am thrilled that every child, from birth to age five, in Gallia County can now enroll in Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library,” said DeWine speaking at an event held on Monday at Bossard Library. “Brain science tells us that a child’s brain is 80 percent developed by the time they turn three. Reading aloud as a family is one of the best ways to promote healthy brain development, and with this program, we are giving parents the tools they need to do just that, at no cost to their family.”
A child who signs up for the program from the day of birth to the end of their fifth year of life can receive around 60 books from the program.
“We first learned about the Imagination Library through our grandchildren who were signed up. They signed up at their local library… When Mike (DeWine) became governor I said we should really make this available to every single child in Ohio… We know we have an aggressive goal, but these kids only grow up once,” said DeWine. “We want to make sure they grow up with the right tools to set them up for success.”
According to supporters of the imitative, research has shown that book ownership can be a predictor of future academic success and studies have found that children with just 25 books in their home were more likely to complete an additional two years of education.
According to a press regarding the program, “Inspired by Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine’s passion for early childhood literacy, the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library is a partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to ensure children enter the classroom ready to succeed.”
“Easterseals Central and Southeast Ohio is very pleased to be a community sponsor of First Lady DeWine’s Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library,” said Pandora Shaw-Dupras, Easterseals of Central and Southeast Ohio CEO. “Easterseals recognizes the importance early literacy plays in a child’s successful future.”
Organizers said the announcement would not have been possible without the support of OGIL’s local partners including Steve Evans and Lightstone Generation. The OGIL is working to ensure children in all 88 of Ohio’s counties can enroll in Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library in 2020 by providing a dollar-for-dollar funding match with each county that opens OGIL to its residents. The Ohio General Assembly committed $5 million to OGIL in the state fiscal year 2020-2021 budget.
To sign up or learn more, visit OhioImaginationLibrary.org.