Ten years ago, Dolly Parton brought her book gifting programme called Imagination Library to the UK, and two years ago the programme was launched in Southwark.
The Imagination Library sends one high-quality and age appropriate book to children aged 0-5 every month, completely for free.
About 40,000 children across the UK are currently receiving books, with almost 5,000 of those in Southwark.
Four-month-old Jessie Riordan from Southwark is a recent member of the Imagination Library.
“So far we’ve had Peter Rabbit and My First Animals, and we get a lot of enjoyment from reading them to our daughter,” Jessie’s mother, Sally Kent, said. “We’re thrilled that Jessie will grow up knowing the joy and adventure that books can bring and have her own special library.”
The programme works by finding local partner organisations – in Southwark, this is the Dulwich Wood Children’s Centre.
The Country and Western icon set up the Imagination Library because she wanted children from an early age able to discover reading, and so far the service has delivered over 100 million books globally.