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New program coming to Cuyahoga County will give free books to children every month

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Posted at 11:09 AM, Jan 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 18:07:34-05

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Starting on Monday, all kids under the age of five in Cuyahoga County can have a free book mailed to their home every month.

Country singer Dolly Parton started the Imagination Library program in Tennessee about 25 years ago. Recently, Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine started working to help partner county libraries in Ohio with the program.

DeWine announced the program Monday at 11 a.m. at the Warrensville Heights branch of the Cuyahoga County library. She said it's important to get books in the hands of children sooner rather than later.

"Brain science shows a child's brain is 80% developed by 3-years old," said Dewine.

"Imagine children before they hit kindergarten having 60 books," said State Representative Juanita Brent.

Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine talks about Imagination Library

Donations cover the cost of books and postage for a year, which is $25 per child.

Last year, the program got $5 million from the state budget to match those donations dollar-for-dollar over the next two years.

Up to 75,000 kids in Cuyahoga County are eligible to enroll starting at birth. To enroll you child, click here.

The program is currently in 55 of Ohio's 88 counties, but is expected to expand to about 15 more counties soon.

Dewine said she will be working on getting the program into Lake and Medina counties within the next few weeks.

If you wish to donate or get your library involved, click here.