700,000 books and counting: the incredible success story of North Lincolnshire’s Imagination Library

Schools, Libraries and Learning
12:10, Tuesday, 21st December 2021

The incredible success of North Lincolnshire’s Imagination Library scheme has been celebrated in a new report.

Through the much-loved scheme, which is funded by North Lincolnshire Council, a phenomenal 740,091 free books have been delivered to benefit the area’s 0-5-year-olds.

As of November 2021, 9 out of 10 children in North Lincolnshire are registered with the programme, with each child receiving up to 60 free books by their fifth birthday.

The scheme has a hugely beneficial impact on the development of North Lincolnshire’s youngest residents.

Analysis of Year 1 phonics screening tests demonstrates that children registered with the Imagination Library achieve better outcomes than their unregistered peers – a pattern repeated year on year on a child’s journey through school.

As well as the boost to learning, the Imagination Library books bring a wealth of other benefits, with the time spent together enjoying them bringing families closer together, supporting the development of confidence, self-esteem, health, and wellbeing.

Cllr Rob Waltham, leader, North Lincolnshire Council, said:

“I am proud that the council continues to fund our fantastic Imagination Library scheme as a key priority.

“In North Lincolnshire, we are passionate about ensuring all our children receive the best possible start. We know that a love of reading is critical to a child’s educational future and can have important life-long impacts, so to have distributed more than 700,000 books to our youngest residents is an incredible milestone.”

North Lincolnshire’s scheme was launched in 2013 and rose rapidly to become one of the most successful Imagination Library programmes in the world. It has been cherished by families ever since.

A parent in North Lincolnshire, said:

“My twin girls absolutely adore receiving their books. They have one each so it means they can look at their own whilst we all read together. We read our Imagination Library books at least five times a day and we always look forward to the next one arriving. [A] huge thank you for putting on such a fabulous scheme and making it possible for us to have such a huge variety of books to choose from”

Cllr Julie Reed, cabinet member for children and families, added:

“For families, having those special times together enjoying the Imagination Library books is really valuable and helps to lay the foundations of good literacy skills.

“While an amazing 9 out of 10 children are registered with the scheme in our area, we are not stopping there – we want to reach even more people. If you live in North Lincolnshire and have children under five, sign up today so your little ones can enjoy the books.”

The Imagination Library scheme is just one way the council sparks an interest in the joy of reading for pleasure.

Recently, and with the support of a raft of local and national organisations, more than 200 literacy packs have been given to families across Scunthorpe, helping to boost reading and writing skills at home.

The packs, which are full of resources, books and games, are designed to help children with their learning, while having fun.

To find out more or to register with North Lincolnshire’s Imagination Library scheme, visit our website.

Photograph shows, from left to right, Cllr Margaret Armiger, ward member for Bottesford, Cllr Rob Waltham, leader of North Lincolnshire Council, Cllr John Davison, cabinet member, safer, stronger communities – urban: Ashby, Bottesford and Scunthorpe, Holly Mumby-Croft, MP for Scunthorpe, Cllr Janet Longcake, ward member for Bottesford and Cllr Joanne Saunby, ward member for Ashby, pictured with pupils and Imagination Library books at Holme Valley Primary School in Scunthorpe.