Ohio's first lady, Fran DeWine, recently announced the launch of the Ohio Governor's Imagination Library in Franklin County.

The initiative aims to promote early childhood literacy by putting more books in the hands of Ohio's children, helping ensure every student enters kindergarten ready to succeed.

Any child from birth to age 5 may be enrolled to receive books from the OGIL. After enrollment, children will receive a new book tailored to their age group each month, at no cost to their family, until they reach the age of 5.

A study published in 2010 indicated that a survey of more than 70,000 people in 27 countries over 20 years found just the presence of books could profoundly affect a child's academic achievement. The results suggested that children with even 25 books at home would be more likely to complete an additional two years of school than would a child from a home without any books.

Through the OGIL initiative, children have the opportunity to receive up to 60 books by the time they turn 5. Parents and caregivers may register their children at ohioimaginationlibrary.com/enroll. Children should receive their first book eight to 12 weeks after their registration is approved.

All libraries in Franklin County, including Worthington Libraries, are partnering with OGIL on this initiative, which is a collaboration of Nationwide Children's Hospital and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital started its partnership with Parton's Imagination Library in 2015 and has served nearly 15,000 children. Kindergarten-readiness assessments rose by 15.4% among participating children from 42.9% in 2016-17 to 58.3% in 2018-19.

In Tennessee, where the Imagination Library has been available to every child for 15 years, a 2014 study found that children who participated scored significantly higher on kindergarten literacy assessments than their nonparticipating peers and the trend continued into the third grade.

Hillary Kline is a communications specialist for Worthington Libraries.