More Than Half of Eligible Mahoning County Kids Enrolled in Free Book Program

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, in partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, report that 51% of eligible Mahoning County children are enrolled in the program.

As of Aug. 1, 6,521 county kids aged five and younger receive free books through the Imagination Library via the mail regardless of their family’s income, according to a press release, 12% higher than the state average. The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley launched the program in 2014.

“The early years are the learning years and the early investment in a child matters to everyone. Access to books and educational materials is one of the biggest barriers to literacy development”, said Kathy Mock, community impact manager for the United Way. “If we can solve the problem of access to age-appropriate books, we have the opportunity to do something that can truly make a difference in our youngest children one book at a time.”

Upon registration, kids receive a free age-appropriate book at their home once monthly until their fifth birthday, as long as they live in Mahoning County. The goal is to promote the love of reading at the earliest of ages, according to the release.

Parents or guardians can register their children online at, pick up registration forms from all branches of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, or text ‘BOOKS’ to 313131.

“This achievement of 51% of the children across Mahoning County being served can be a tribute to the hard work of the United Way team and the cooperation among area educators, families and a great promotional effort community wide,” Mock said.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.