More than 6,700 children – 73% of all 0-5 year olds in Dublin 24 – have signed up to a local free book gifting scheme supported by Dolly Parton, since it was launched two years ago. This month will see the 100,000th book delivered in the Dublin 24 area, through the world famous Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL), which is coordinated by the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI). Marking the landmark 100,000th book and second anniversary, CDI said research on the impact of the programme has shown that parents whose children receive the books enjoy reading more to their children and also enjoy reading more themselves. The programme is highly cost effective at €20 per year for a child to receive an age appropriate book every month from birth up until their fifth birthday, but there is no cost to the families.
Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) Programme Coordinator Emma Reilly said that during COVID-19, this programme has been an anchor for many families, and books continued to be delivered without disruption. “Having access to books and reading aloud for 15 minutes per day can have a significant long term impact on children’s development. There is a lot of evidence which shows the power of early reading experiences, and the long term benefit for each child. As Dolly says herself ‘you can never get enough books into the hands of enough children’. A parent whose children are taking part in the programme said they were benefiting as well as their child: “Without the books from the Imagination Library I don’t think we would have read as much as we do with our daughters. It’s brings us so much joy.”
Ms Reilly also highlighted the need for corporate and public support to sustain the programme into the future. “CDI is an affiliate for the Imagination Library here in Ireland. DPIL provides the book ordering system, the branding and the ability to buy books at cost price but CDI, supported by Tusla, buys the books at cost and coordinates local programme delivery. “To continue and grow the programme, we are looking for corporate or individual donor sponsorship. We are also encouraging the expansion of the programme to other parts of the country it is currently now also underway in Cork. “Together with the support of An Post and Tusla, 100,000 books have been delivered since February 2019. We are very grateful to the local Postmen and Postwomen who have been so committed to ensuring the delivery of the books every month.
Parents living in Dublin 24 can find out more at https://www.cdi.ie/our-programmes/imaginationlibrary/ and receive a high-quality book (to keep) every month until they are five. The books are addressed to the child and posted directly to their home. Shamrock Rovers Football Club has actively promoted the scheme in the surrounding community and the initiative is supported by a number of other corporate and philanthropic funders. 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.
More at www.cdi.ie
Pictured in the main image are Jacob Ballagh Mulholland, Alice Costello and Kit Toman with their Mums Sylvia, Catherine and Aoife when the scheme launched. Pic Credit Conor Healy / Picture it Photography