Reading nine ‘til five - Dolly Parton brings library to the district

Dolly Parton Imagination Library is coming to Wakefield district.
Dolly Parton Imagination Library is coming to Wakefield district.
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A reading scheme developed by Dolly Parton will be introduced in the district for the very first time.

Families living in Airedale and Ferry Fryston will be able to sign up to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and will be posted an age-appropriate book for their child to read every month until their fifth birthday.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

The scheme, provided in partnership with Wakefield Council and Spectrum Community Health CIC, will be officially launched at a community fair next week.

Coun Pat Garbutt, cabinet member for health, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Imagination Library to Airedale and Ferry Fryston.

“Babies love books and it’s never too soon to start reading.

“Reading with children from a young age builds listening, language and memory skills in a fun way, helping children get ready for school.

“It is also a great way to entertain and sooth younger children.”

American country singer Dolly first launched the Imagination Library in her home state of Tennessee in 1995 to help develop a love of reading among children and ensure every youngster would have books regardless of their family’s income.

The scheme has since been rolled out across the USA, UK, Australia and Canada, in partnership with communities, and more than a million children are now registered.

A message from Dolly on her Imagination Library website reads: “This program is one of the most important ways I know to improve the educational opportunities for children in your community.

“When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams.

“They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer.

“The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.

“You will be amazed at the impact this simple gift can have on the lives of children and their families.”

The book gifting scheme will launch in the district on Wednesday, May 3 from 9.30am until 12.30pm at Airedale Library.

Eligible families that attend on the day will receive a free Peter Rabbit book and will be entered into a prize draw to win a £25 Mothercare or Early Learning Centre gift voucher.

The launch event will also include a rhyme time session, nursery rhyme treasure trail, play activities, tooth brushing sessions and information about local services for families.

Dr Linda Harris, chief executive at Spectrum, said: “We are really pleased to be able to support the district with the Imagination Library.

“It’s great to see a project like this giving babies a fun and educational way to start life.”

Anyone in the Airedale and Ferry Fryston areas with babies born after September 1 2016 can sign up to the scheme.

People can register at www.spectrumhealth.org.uk/campaigns/dollyparton, by calling 01924 311400 or by visiting Airedale Library.