Published on 8 May 2021
Last updated on 7 May 2021
- 4,500 Early Learning and Care settings, including registered childminders, to receive free book bags under the First 5 Little Library Initiative
- The Little Library Initiative aims to develop a consistent link between early learning and care service and their local library to encourage a love of books and reading among young children
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:
- Distribute a selection of books and resources to all early learning and care services, through the national network of libraries;
- Ensure this selected collection of books is also held in libraries which can be loaned out to young children and their families;
- Encourage membership and use of the library network among early learning and care services and among young children and their families;
- Support the early learning and care services and families in use of this resource;
- Encourage ongoing collaboration between the early learning and care services and libraries and support families in establishing or developing the practice of reading.
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.”