Free bedtime story books for all children, 4 years of age and under

Roderic O’ Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and Heather Humphreys, Minister for Rural and Community Development today announced the First 5 Little Book at Bedtime initiative, in collaboration with public libraries and the Local Government Management Agency.

Free bedtime story books and library card wallets are available at the library for all children of 4 years and under, to pick up and keep. This exciting initiative aims to engage all parents of young children to read stories with them at bedtime.

From the 6th of October, parents and their children can pop into their local library to pick up their free bedtime story book and join the library. Bedtime story books are available in English and Irish.

In launching the initiative Minister O’Gorman said:

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

Minister Humphreys added:

“Every library in the country has bedtime story books ready for parents and children to pick up. I commend the work of the libraries in supporting this initiative. I want 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. Introducing children to the joy of stories and reading together is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child.

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”.

On behalf of public libraries in Ireland Pauline Brennan, Leitrim County Librarian and Chair of the National Programmes Committee said:

“We’re so excited to be part of the Little Book at Bedtime initiative. We love seeing parents and children picking out books to read together, knowing the many benefits that has for children’s wellbeing, literacy and love of reading.

So, we 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.”

– First 5, Little Book at Bedtime is an action of First 5 Whole of Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families.

– 190,000 free bedtime story books in English and Irish are available for parents and their children to pick up in local libraries around the country.

– Families are encouraged to join the library when they pick up the books. To join the library you need to produce photographic identification (who you are) and proof of current address (where you live) to finalise your membership and get your library card.