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Hello Dolly! - The Imagination Library Launches in Wigan
Monday 14th December, 2009

Hello Dolly! - The Imagination Library Launches in Wigan
Dolly Parton with the first book every child in the library receives The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

It may be hard working 9 to 5 but parents in Wigan are being urged to take the time to sit down and read with their children.

And the message comes from none other than the first lady of country music.
Wigan Council has teamed up with Dolly Parton to pilot her world-famous book gifting scheme for pre-school children under five years old at Sure Start Children’s Centres in the Ince and Bryn wards.

Parents can enrol their children on the scheme at one of the registration sessions taking place. A registration session was held in Ince on Thursday December 10 and another will be taking place on Wednesday December 16 at Bryn. All children registered on the scheme will be sent a free, brand new book each month, until they turn five years old.

The scheme, which will be officially launched in March 2010 is based on the highly successful Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a literacy project that aims to make reading accessible to all pre-school children. The project is funded by local sponsors who pay for children in their community to receive the books.

Dolly Parton first launched the scheme in her home county of Sevier, Tennessee in 1996 with the aim of fostering a love of reading amongst children. The programme was launched in the UK in 2007 by Rotherham Council and has successfully grown since then.

Makerfield MP Ian McCartney is a big fan of the project and says he will be extending the warm Wigan hand of friendship to the big-hearted superstar.

"I am delighted that following my idea, some 2 years ago, that a pilot is now off the ground,” says Mr McCartney. “I hope that this can become a blueprint for the borough and I will be extending an invitation to Dolly Parton to visit Wigan in the New Year."

While Dolly herself is delighted that Wigan has taken her idea to its heart.

Dolly Parton said: ”It’s great to celebrate as another bunch of kids start to receive their first books. It’s my dream that every child has a library of books which their parents can read to them from the day they are born. It’s a big dream, but I’ve always been a mighty big dreamer.”

Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for Education, Cllr Susan Loudon said: “Wigan Council is pleased to be working with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. The partnership will help children to develop their literacy skills, encourage parents to read with their children and introduce a love of reading. Wigan Council is very proud to include this alongside the other literacy schemes operated across the borough.”

Cllr Loudon adds: “I would urge parents to enrol their children on this fantastic scheme. It will help our young people to learn, develop and give them a head start with their literacy skills.”

Parents who would like further details on the scheme, please contact Nicola Cunningham on 01942 245218 (Ince Children’s Centre) or Jenny Puzzar on 01942 776382

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