1. ITV Report

Dolly Parton sings Nottingham's praise for book reading success

Music legend, Dolly Parton, has praised Nottingham Credit: PA

Music legend, Dolly Parton, has praised Nottingham for getting five thousand children on the register to receive free books.

Dolly is the founder of the Imagination Library - a book-gifting scheme aimed at improving children's literacy skills so that they're more ready to start school when they turn 5. Age appropriate books are delivered addressed to the child every month from birth, allowing them to build up a library of 60 books over five years.

The scheme currently covers 10 of the city’s 20 wards. Reaching 5,000 children each month for the first time marks a significant milestone for the Imagination Library in Nottingham.

“Hi Nottingham… Congratulations on yet another success! You are truly special because there are not many programs in the world that provide a book each month to over 5,000 children. So thank you from the bottom of my country heart for all you have done to inspire your children to love books and love learning.”

– Dolly Parton, Singer/Songwriter

The vision of the Imagination Library was first sparked in Nottingham in 2009 by a Teaching Assistant in Wollaton. Momentum gathered when the Rotary Club of Nottingham worked with Nottingham City Council to help to co-ordinate fundraising which enabled the Imagination Library to be set up in the Nottingham neighbourhood of Bilborough in 2012.

Cllr David Mellen with the 5,000th child to receive the free books, baby Remae Gordon-Goode, with dad Raelle, mum Melanie and sister Kyron Credit: Nottingham City Council

“This is a significant milestone for our city. The scheme has grown and grown: it is an incredible achievement to have 5,000 children now receiving the free books every month. We continue to fundraise for the charity as our ambition is clear: we want every child in Nottingham to receive a free book every month.”

– Councillor David Mellen, Nottingham City Council

Cllr Mellen is currently undertaking a Big Reading Challenge for the Imagination Library in Nottingham – aiming to read to 5,000 children in 50 days to raise £5,000 for the charity between 28 January and 18 March.