The Imagination Library scheme was originally set up by Dolly in her hometown in Tennessee as a tribute to her father, who she says was an intelligent, hardworking man who never got the opportunity to read or write.
The £750,000 Southwark scheme, a partnership between the country singer and DialAFlight, is the first to be borough-wide in London and was launched on 19 January – Dolly’s birthday.
In total around 5,000 children will each receive 60 books as part of the new reading scheme.
The idea is to give children their own library of quality books and to encourage parents to look at books with their baby right from the start to stimulate bonding and communication, and of course the child’s imagination.
Dolly says, ‘I remain convinced that if we could do one simple thing to inspire kids and adults to learn more, it would be to inspire them to read more. Reading and imparting a love of books is one of the most important things we can do for our children. And it’s never too early to start.’
DialAFlight’s HQ is based in Southwark and funding comes from the travel company’s charity, Make My Day Better.
In the UK the scheme started in Rotherham in 2007 and now runs in several towns and cities across the UK, including west London, Luton and launched last year in Nottingham.