COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A group of children was treated to a visit from Fran DeWine Wednesday with Ohio’s First Lady in Columbus to promote early childhood literacy.

The First Lady took part in the reading of a book called “Spend It” with a group of four-year-old children.

The book was mailed out to thousands of children in January as part of Ohio’s Imagination Library program, which is free to all children in Ohio, sending out one age-appropriate book per month to children five years old and younger.

At Wednesday’s Ohio Library Council Legislative Day, DeWine emphasized the importance of the early years in a child’s brain development, and with more than 250 public libraries serving as partners for the program, she said libraries still play a critical role in our communities.

“Libraries have become the hub of our communities — not just for books, checking them out,” DeWine said. “They have internet, they distributed COVID tests, they have summer feeding programs which are so important in some rural areas where kids don’t have access to food. And I think libraries are doing really fun things.”

With more than 8 million cardholders, DeWine said Ohio’s public library usage is higher than any other state in the country.

Children can be enrolled in the Imagination Library program at any library in the state.