February 14, 2019: Dolly Parton’s dream to get children to develop a love of books and reading early in life is coming to Ireland – as her charity teams up with local partners to announce a free book-gifting programme.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) works with local partners to gift books to young children across the world – and from today is making new books available free to all children aged 0-5 living in Dublin 24.
This is the first time that the Imagination Library has been offered in Ireland. It is being piloted in Tallaght under the coordination of the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) and with the support of An Post, Rotary Club Dublin and Shamrock Rovers Football club.
Launching the project, Dolly Parton called on parents in Dublin 24 to take advantage of the opportunity and get their children reading.
“You can never get enough books into the hands of young children. I know there are children in Ireland with their own dreams – the dream of becoming a doctor, an inventor, or a teacher. Who knows, maybe a writer, or singer. The seeds of these dreams can often be found in books and the seeds planted in a community can grow across the world,” Dolly Parton said.
The programme has gone live today and parents can register their children via the link button at the CDI website at www.cdi.ie/imaginationlibrary.
Tallaght based prevention and early intervention organisation CDI is responsible for enrolling children and will use its network to drive and track take up. An Post has committed to free postage of the books in Dublin 24 for one year.
CDI Chief Executive Marian Quinn encouraged parents to register.
“I am really delighted that the Imagination Library is coming to Ireland. We aim to reach 3,200 children with 21,600 books in Dublin 24 in the first year alone. Our aim is to then scale up to other parts of the country.”
Once signed up the child will receive a free high-quality book to keep every month until they are five. The books will be addressed to the child and posted directly to their home. It is available to all children in each household and siblings will get different age-appropriate books.
There are some operational costs involved and CDI is providing these. If successful CDI will be looking to engage further partners and funders and expand it beyond Dublin 24.
CDI also coordinates other programmes to improve family literacy and children’s outcomes, and will integrate the book gifting scheme with these. A working group has been established to promote the initiative including library staff, public health nurses, and health and education services.
An Post’s Managing Director of Mails & Parcels, Garrett Bridgeman, said that An Post is delighted to support CDI and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in this powerful local programme: “An Post is a long-time supporter of reading and books as real ways of improving all our lives now and for future generations.
“Our GeoDirectory colleagues are lending their expertise to the registration process and our Dublin 24 postmen and postwomen are all geared up to ensure speedy and safe delivery of beautiful books to families throughout the area”, he said.
The programme is also being supported by Shamrock Rovers F.C., Club Chairman Jonathan Roche said: “We support what is good for local families and our local community in terms of education, health and well-being. As a club we are proud to represent the Tallaght community and promote numerous local initiatives. This is a brilliant project and we will gladly promote it and encourage families to register.”
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is already active in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia making Ireland the fifth country in which it is being delivered. Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Dolly Parton started the Imagination Library in 1995. Today the programme mails over 1.3 million free books each month and 112 million books have been mailed since it commenced.
CDI is a non-profit organisation working to improve outcomes for children in disadvantaged communities in Ireland. Established in 2004 in Tallaght, Dublin 24, CDI designs, delivers and evaluates prevention and early intervention programmes for children in literacy, health, speech and language, parenting, and conflict prevention.
Rotary club, Dublin is also supporting the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Ireland as one of the many community projects it is engaged in. The Rotary club is an international service organisation with 1.2 million members all over the world.
The programme was launched today at the South Dublin County Council Library in Tallaght and warmly welcomed by County Library Tallaght, Senior Executive Librarian, Rosena Hand who said: “South Dublin Libraries is delighted to support the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Dublin 24. It is never too early to start reading to your child. The children’s delight in receiving their free books can be continued by joining their local library which has a wealth of free resources to help them continue to enjoy books and reading!”
The announcement has also been welcomed by Early Childhood Ireland which said it will also promote and encourage the programme’s development.
Early Childhood Ireland CEO Teresa Heeney said: “Books, glorious books! Our biggest lessons in communication are learned in the first five years of our lives. It is never too early to begin helping your child to develop skills in literacy. Books are the best way to start as these are as much fun for you and the rest of the family as they are for children.
WATCH the launch VIDEO here: https://youtu.be/kCcZ9cUhOnM
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731.