Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, T.D., and Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, T.D., today announced the roll-out of the First 5 Little Library Initiative. The project aims to support the development of little libraries in early learning and care settings and encourage a love of books and reading among our youngest children.
Under this initiative, more than 4,500 early learning and care settings are invited to collect free book bags and other resources from their local library as they reopen next week.
Speaking about the project, Minister O’Gorman said:
“I’m delighted to announce today the roll-out of the First 5 Little Library Initiative, which officially links our early learning and care services to the national library service. In supporting this link, my Department together with early learning and care services hopes to encourage a new generation on a life-long love of reading, and that this project will bring even more connections between local libraries and early learning and care services and the families and communities they serve.”
The project is a collaboration between the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) and the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA). €650,000 has been provided for the project from DCEDIY and DRCD.
The First 5 Little Library Initiative will:
Welcoming the Initiative, Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys T.D., said:
“This initiative is all about encouraging our little ones to read from an early age – sparking their imagination and giving them the joy of storytelling. As Minister with responsibility for public libraries, I am delighted to support this initiative.
“This collaboration between the Early Learning and Care services and the 330 public libraries around the country will open these worlds up to so many families. It will also promote early language and literacy development which is crucial for children’s success in education and beyond.”
The distribution of the First 5 Little Library is being managed by the Local Government Management Agency, with book bags and resources to issue to libraries from today, ready to be collected from Early Learning and Care settings from next Monday (10 May). Colette Byrne, Kilkenny County Council Chief Executive on behalf of the public library sector said:
“Public libraries are proud to support the Little Library Book Bag initiative – a welcome new element in the expanding Right to Read programme. Library staff have helped to grow Right to Read over the past few years, offering events and resources for children, families and individuals throughout the year. It is wonderful to know that children in Early Learning and Care settings will also now benefit from the programme in that environment and from all the positive effects that reading brings such as greater self-esteem and well-being, greater social and health outcomes and an overall better quality of life as they grow up.”
There are two book bag types produced containing five books each:
Each bag contains 5 story books for children selected by the national library service for children up to five years. The bag also contains a number of resources from the libraries including a service library card and a guide to that local library. There are also two specially developed booklets developed by Barnardos for the First 5 Little Library project, one on using books and stories with children under 5 and the other a guide to developing a little library in the early learning and care setting.
Early Learning & Care settings are allocated bags according to the number of children in the setting and services with less than 38 children are allocated one bag, services with 39-100 children are allocated two bags and services with 101 plus children registered are allocated 3 bags.
A second provision of Little Library Book Bags is planned to take place in the autumn to tie in with Childrens’ Book Festival.
Originally funding for this Initiative comprised of Dormant Accounts Funding of €100,000 from DCRD and €100,000 from DCEDIY. An additional €450,000 was allocated by DCEDIY on 8 December from Dormant Accounts Funding bringing the total funding for this initiative to €650,000.
Under the First 5 Little Library Initiative, 4,500 Early Learning and Care services, including childminders, will be offered an opportunity to connect with their local library and receive a series of book bags in May and again in October. The network of 330 public libraries will also have copies of books selected for the book bags, which will be available to loan to parents and/or to remain in the library for story times and reading corners. Book bags will be available in the Irish and English language.
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