Thousands of young children in Tallaght in Dublin are to be given free books under a scheme initiated by singer Dolly Parton.
She started the charity 'Imagination Library' in 1995 and it is currently active in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia, posting over 1.3 million free books to children under five every month.
Ireland is now be the fifth country in which it operates and although the project is beginning in Tallaght it is hoped it will be extended to other parts of the country. The progamme is being piloted in Tallaght by the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) and is supported by Dublin Rotary Club, Shamrock Rovers and An Post who will deliver the books free of charge for a year.
In a statement, Dolly Parton said: "You can never get enough books into the hands of young children. I know there are children in Ireland with their own dreams - the dream of becoming a doctor, an inventor, or a teacher. Who knows, maybe a writer, or singer.
"The seeds of these dreams can often be found in books and the seeds planted in a community can grow across the world'.
A book a month will be sent to children until they are aged five, CDI Chief Executive Marian Quinn said their aim is to reach 3,200 children with 21,600 books in Dublin 24 in the first year.
Once signed up to the scheme, each child will receive a book a month to keep until they are five.
The programme was launched today at South Dublin County Council Library in Tallaght.
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