A milestone has been reached for a scheme that gives free books to Nottingham children.
A total of 400,000 books have now been delivered to under-fives through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
The book-gifting charity was introduced in the city in 2009 and more than 10,000 Nottingham children have now had a free book delivered to their door every month – covering ten of the city’s 20 wards.
The Imagination Library is proven to improve children’s literacy levels so that they are more likely to be ready to start school when they turn five. Age-appropriate books are addressed to the child personally every month from birth, allowing them to build up a library of 60 over five years.
Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “This is a significant milestone for our city – 400,000 books is a fantastic gift to the children of Nottingham.
“I believe these books will have helped their early development and literacy. They will have played a part in helping them to achieve more at school and, I hope, develop the joy of reading and begin a life-long love of books.
“I’m proud of how the charity has grown in the city in the past decade. This is down to the generosity of sponsors and fundraisers who have donated to the Imagination Library. It is an incredible achievement to have nearly 6,000 children currently registered and more than 4,000 having now graduated from the scheme.
“However, our ambition is clear: we want to work towards every child in Nottingham receiving a free book every month.”
Councillor Mellen added: “I am really pleased that 10,000 children have now benefited from the scheme. The charity remains reliant on the generosity of sponsors and fund-raisers like the Domlal Foundation, which pledged £12,500 in 2021, and Eden PR which donates its time free of charge to support the promotion of the Imagination Library.
“However with regret, due to a lack of funds through donations, the scheme has had to stop enrolling new children in some areas of the city. Therefore, now more than ever, we really need the support of people and businesses to donate. Just £2 can help pay for a child to get a new book, while £125 pays for a child to get a book every month from birth until their fifth birthday.”
Donations can be made through the website here and every bit helps.
A teaching assistant in Wollaton first sparked the vision of the Imagination Library in Nottingham in 2009. Momentum gathered when the Rotary Club of Nottingham worked with Nottingham City Council to co-ordinate fundraising which enabled the Imagination Library to be set up in the Nottingham neighbourhood of Bilborough in 2012.
Councillor Cheryl Barnard, Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “Not all Nottingham children have access to a range of books in their home and we know that sharing stories regularly can help children be ready for nursery, by which time we know that some children are already behind in their development in comparison to their peers.
“Our children deserve the best possible start in life. We know that reading with them is one of the best ways to set them up for a bright future.”
More information about the Imagination Library in Nottingham is available at www.dollybooksnottingham.org.