Minister O’Gorman announces second phase of Little Library Initiative providing free book bags for all childcare services

Little Library Round 2

From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 

Published on 19 November 2021

Last updated on 19 November 2021

  • Launch of the second phase of the First 5 Little Library initiative sees reading materials made available to approximately 200,000 children
  • First 5 Little Library book bags will be available to Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare services from libraries throughout the country to support children’s early language and literacy development.

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, T.D., today announced that Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School-Age Childcare (SAC) services are being invited to collect a First 5 Little Library book bag from their local libraries.

The First 5 Little Libraries book bags contain books chosen by librarians and materials developed to support storytelling and reading with children. There are two versions of the book bag available, depending on the age of the children participating in the ELC or SAC service.

The project supports ELC and SAC services to further develop little libraries in their settings with quality book titles in English and Irish. The focus of this initiative is to support early language and literacy development among children and build strong links between ELC and SAC services and libraries. ELC and SAC services and libraries are key resources in the community for children and families and this project supports them to work together to support young children’s learning.

Speaking about the project, Minister O’Gorman said:

“I am delighted to announce this next phase of the First 5 Little Libraries initiative, building on what has been a very positive first stage of the project. ELC and SAC services play such a fundamental role in children’s lives and have enormous potential to inspire and encourage learning of all types, and of course reading books opens up all kinds of exciting possibilities for children.

“I am particularly happy that this next stage of the project now makes book bags available to School-Age Childcare services and to childminders, as well as providing additional book bags to Early Learning and Care services who also received them in the first round.

“ELC and SAC services are at the centre of many children’s lives and it is important that they have high quality resources and materials. Everyone benefits, particularly children, by ELC and SAC services and libraries working together, and these closer links will help to encourage the love of stories and reading for a huge cohort of children”.

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 the three organisations.

The First 5 Little Library Initiative phase 2 will:

  • Distribute a selection of books and resources to all ELC and SAC services, through the national network of libraries;
  • Ensure this selected collection of books is also held in libraries to be loaned out to children and their families;
  • Encourage membership and use of the library network among ELC and SAC services to facilitate integration of local community resources to support children’s learning.
  • Support the ELC and SAC services and families in use of this resource to encourage stories, reading and the love of books among young children.

Welcoming the Initiative, Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys T.D., said:

“As Minister with responsibility for public libraries, I’m delighted to be able to support the First 5 Little Library Initiative. This initiative aims to develop a consistent link between early learning and care settings and their local libraries to encourage a love of stories and reading among young children. Reading brings lots of benefits to children in terms of literacy and speech skills, logic, concentration and emotional health and reading time together can help to build healthy relationships. The first phase of the initiative which launched in May was a great success and it is fantastic to be able to expand the impact of the initiative by including School Age Childcare settings and childminders in this phase. I would encourage all of these service providers to drop into their local library and pick up their First 5 Little Library book bag so that they can begin to share the joy of reading with children.”

Colette Byrne, Kilkenny Chief Executive and Chair of the Libraries Development Committee said:

“Local authority public libraries are proud to support this new phase of First 5 Little Libraries Book Bag initiative. Library staff work hard throughout the year to support children’s literacy and reading development through the Right to Read programme, which this initiative forms part of. It is wonderful to see Little Libraries continue to grow and reach more children. Whether in Early Learning and Care, School-Age Childcare or in their local library, we will continue to support families to discover all the benefits reading brings.”

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 22 November.

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