Dolly Parton charity launches free book programme for children in Ireland

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, the Dublin Rotary Club 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 now gone live 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.

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. 

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.

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.

The programme was launched 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!”

WATCH the launch VIDEO here: https://youtu.be/kCcZ9cUhOnM