100,000 Dolly books delivered

By Mary Dennehy

THE 100,000th children’s book has been delivered in Dublin 24 as part of a free book scheme that nearly 75 per cent of under fives in the area are signed up to.

Two years ago, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) started its story in Tallaght, opening a new chapter in reading for thousands of local children.

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Jacob Ballagh Mulholland, Alice Costello and Kit Toman with their Mums Sylvia, Catherine and Aoife at the launch of the free book scheme in Febraury 2019

To date more than 6,700 children are signed up to the scheme, that’s 73 per cent of all kids under the age of five in Dublin 24.

The book gifting scheme, which is co-ordinated locally by the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI), sees a free, age appropriate book posted every month to children under the age of five who are living in Dublin 24.

Marking the landmark 100,000th book and second anniversary, CDI said that 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.

Emma Reilly, CDI Programme Co-ordinator said that during Covid-19, the programme has been “an anchor” for many families – with books being 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”, Ms Reilly said.

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Jack Purcell and mum Claire from Tallaght at the launch of the scheme in 2019

“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.”

The programme costs €20 per year for a child to receive an age appropriate book every month from birth up until their 5th birthday, with no cost to families.

Ms Reilly 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”, Ms Reilly said.

“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.

 “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.”

Shamrock Rovers Football Club has actively promoted the scheme in the surrounding community, with the initiative also supported by a number of other corporate and philanthropic funders.

Based on Cookstown Lane, CDI is a non-profit organisation established in Tallaght in 2004.

The initiative delivers and evaluates early intervention programmes for children in literacy, health, speech and language, parenting and conflict prevention.

Each child signed up to the DPIL receives a book, to keep, addressed to them in the post every month.

To find out more about the free book scheme, visit CDI.

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