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Five years on – the success of Imagination Library

Rob Waltham, MP Andrew Percy, Couns Julie Reed and John Briggs and Sandra Simmons with pupils
Rob Waltham, MP Andrew Percy, Couns Julie Reed and John Briggs and Sandra Simmons with pupils

A celebration event has been held at Althorpe and Keadby Primary School to mark the success of the council’s book-gifting scheme, the Imagination Library.

Cllr Rob Waltham, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council; Isle MP, Andrew Percy; Axholme North ward members, Cllrs Julie Reed and John Briggs; and the council’s Head of Participation and Achievement, Sandra Simmons, all joined pupils, parents and teachers at the school to celebrate five years since the hugely popular programme launched in North Lincolnshire.

Through the Imagination Library, NLC delivers a free book every month to children from birth until their fifth birthday. Amazingly, in the past five years they have delivered around 380,000 free books to 14,950 children.

With 88 per cent of under-fives in thisarea registered with the Imagination Library, North Lincolnshire’s book gifting scheme is the most successful in the world. The Dolly Parton Trust – founders of the scheme – promotes North Lincolnshire as a model of excellence, describing the scheme as a ‘world leader’ with an exciting and innovative programme of work that engages the whole community.

There is strong evidence that the Imagination Library has contributed to the improved outcomes of Early Years children in thisarea.

Since the scheme launched in North Lincolnshire in 2013, there has been an increase of over 20 per cent in the proportion of children achieving a good level of development. Of the children registered with the Imagination Library, 74.3 per cent achieve a good level of development: 4 per cent above the national average and 10 per cent above their unregistered peers.

The Imagination Library has also narrowed the attainment gap between boys and girls in North Lincolnshire, making it now narrower than the national average across all key benchmark criteria.

Cllr Waltham said: “The council invests over £200,000 in the Imagination Library ever year and the scheme has been hugely popular with parents and guardians across North Lincolnshire. Through the Imagination Library, we have raised significant awareness of the importance of sharing books and reading with children.

“Parents often comment that they feel ‘lucky’ to have the Imagination Library scheme in North Lincolnshire and we’re proud that we can support such a simple scheme that has huge benefits.

“By sharing books with children from a young age, we can not only help raise attainment at our schools and colleges and give our pupils the best start in life, but also develop a lifelong love of reading.”

The event at Keadby and Althorpe Primary School is part of a series of events NLC is holding at schools across the area to celebrate five years of the Imagination Library in North Lincolnshire. Previous events have already been held at schools in Brigg, Barton and Scunthorpe and there are further events this year planned for Winterton, Crowle and Epworth.