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Stock image of a mother reading a bedtime story to her children at home. Alamy Stock Photo
bedtime books

Government launches new scheme to give free bedtime story book to all children aged 4 and under

The scheme is part of ‘First 5’, which is a whole-of-government strategy aimed at improving the lives of babies, young children and their families.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS launched a new initiative that will give a free bedtime story book to all children aged four and under.

From today, parents/guardians and their children will be able to choose from over 190,000 bedtime story books in English and Irish, which will be available to pick up in local libraries across the country.

The scheme aims to “engage all parents of young children to read stories with them at bedtime”.

The ‘First 5 Little Book at Bedtime’ scheme was announced by Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman and by Rural and Community Development Minister Heather Humphreys.

Launching the initiative, Minister O’Gorman noted that “reading bedtime stories to children has many benefits, including supporting a close parental bond, developing children’s language and their imagination”.

“As the winter draws in, what a lovely time for parents and young children to cosy up and read together as part of the daily bedtime routine,” said O’Gorman.

He added: “I hope all families with young children will avail of this opportunity to pick up a free bedtime story book from the library.”

Meanwhile, Minister Humphreys commended libraries for supporting the scheme and said she wants “every child in the country to be a library member and for children to share the lovely experience of having stories read to them at bedtime”.

“I know librarians across the country are looking forward to greeting all these young children when they come to pick up their Little Book at Bedtime,” said Minister Humphreys.

Speaking on behalf of public libraries in Ireland Pauline Brennan, Leitrim County Librarian and Chair of the National Programmes Committee, said staff “can’t wait to welcome all the families to the library to pick up their free books”.

“Our library staff are always on hand to offer book recommendations to parents and their children, and we hope that after getting their free Little Book at Bedtime, families will continue to come back to the library and keep borrowing more and more books,” said Brennan.

Families will be encouraged to join their local library when they pick up the books, and to join the library you need to provide photographic ID and proof of current address to finalise your membership.

The scheme is part of ‘First 5’, which is a whole-of-government strategy aimed at improving the lives of babies, young children and their families.

It’s described as a “plan to help make sure all children have positive early experiences and a great start in life”.

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