800,000 books and counting: the incredible success story of North Lincolnshire’s Imagination Library

Schools, Libraries and Learning
15:06, Wednesday, 16th November 2022

The phenomenal success of North Lincolnshire’s Imagination Library is being celebrated on the eve of the book gifting scheme’s 10th anniversary.

The scheme has delivered an incredible 800,000 free books to the area’s under-fives, boosting communication and language skills. The children who receive the books perform better in school.

Cllr Rob Waltham, leader, North Lincolnshire Council, said: “I am proud that the council continues to pay for books for all children through our fantastic Imagination Library scheme – it is and will remain a priority.

“In North Lincolnshire, we are passionate about ensuring all our children receive the best start in life. Sparking a love of reading is critical to a child’s learning and has important life-long impacts.

“To reach the tenth year of the scheme is a fantastic milestone and I hope the books – and the precious time families spend enjoying them – continues for many years to come.”

North Lincolnshire’s scheme was launched in 2013 after a recommendation from Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy. It has risen rapidly to become one of the world’s leading Imagination Library programmes and has been treasured by families ever since.

A new report due to be discussed by the council’s cabinet team on Monday, 21 November shows children with access to the books achieve better outcomes in school.

One local parent said: “The books have given my daughter and son access to new worlds, new stories, fed their imaginations and given this mum a lot of precious joyful moments that we will cherish for our lifetime. Thank you.”

The latest data continues to demonstrate the hugely beneficial impact the scheme has on the development of North Lincolnshire’s youngest residents, including those with special educational and development needs.

Cllr Julie Reed, cabinet member for children and families, said: “There is a significant benefit to the programme on children’s achievement in the Early Years Foundation Stage and beyond. ​

​”The North Lincolnshire Imagination Library continues to go from strength to strength – it is recognised globally​ and children tell us they love it and rush to the doorstep to collect their gift – it is often the very first thing to come through the letter box addressed to them.

“I have recently registered my first grandchild following a visit from one of our Imagination Library champions whilst we were in the special baby care unit and am rediscovering the joy of sharing books with her. “