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Written by Lisa Mauch, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library

As an employment services technician at the OhioMeansJobs Center, Cindy Frietch got frustrated with seeing bored kids stuck in a waiting room with nothing to do. At first, she purchased coloring books and crayons on her own dime to put out. But as a mother and grandmother, she also knew how important it is to start reading early with kids.

That’s when she started buying stacks of gently used books at Goodwill, wiping them down with sanitary wipes, and then leaving them out for the kids to read as well as to take home.

“Reading is one of the most important things. Somebody has to make sure these kids have access to books,” said Frietch.



Her philanthropy didn’t go unnoticed. At the annual Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board meeting, she was named the OhioMeansJobs employee of the year. During the presentation of the award, her act of buying books for the kids was mentioned. And sitting in the audience was Paula Brehm-Heeger, the Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. 

Afterwards, Brehm-Heeger approached Cindy and suggested a collaboration between the two organizations. 

“Books and making connections that better serve our community are part and parcel of what makes the Library special,” said Brehm-Heeger. “Creating an honor book collection at OhioMeansJobs is another way we can help connect people with the world of ideas and information.”



That’s why, starting July 17, the Library is dropping off books donated by the Friends of the Public Library to the OhioMeansJobs Center and plans to regularly restock the Honor Books cart there. The books range from titles for the very youngest reader to chapter books and young adult novels for older readers. Kids are encouraged to take books home, and there’s no checkout or tracking system. But they’re also welcome to bring back a book they’ve read and exchange it for another.

Frietch said she is grateful to now have a steady supply of books. “This is very exciting for us. We are so appreciative of the generosity of the Library,” she said.

The OhioMeansJobs Center is located at 1916 Central Parkway. With a mission of connecting job seekers and employers to the resources and tools they need to find meaningful work, the organization offers workshops, career coaching, job training, and many other services. They help employers with recruitment, hiring events, and rapid response activities to help them find eager workers. 

To learn more about the center’s services, go to www.omj-cinham.org/. To learn more about the Friends of the Library and how to donate books, go to www.CincyLibraryFriends.org.