A NEW initiative that will see books being given out free to new babies is being funded in Limerick to the tune of €50,000 by the JP McManus Trust.
Children’s Books Ireland has launched the ‘Bookseed” programme to distribute free books to babies from the age of three months as part of an initiative to encourage parents to read with their children.
The programme begins in Limerick next month and will run for two years with hopes of a nationwide roll-out in the future.
The aim of the initiative is that all Limerick children will have equal access to books and reading.
The books will be in board format, making them hard-wearing and safe for small babies who like to put things in their mouths.
Under the programme, 4,000 books will be distributed to babies, one at the age of three months, another at between seven and nine months, and the final book when the child is one.
The first two books will be distributed through health centres in Rathkeale, Abbeyfeale, Newcastlewest and Croom, as well as in two health centres in the city, Southill and Barrack View.
The third book will be available to parents through their local library.
Parents or carers will get their own booklet with tips on reading to babies and how to join the library.
The programme is designed along the lines of the UK’s ‘Bookstart’ which has been running for two years.