Singer Dolly Parton’s childhood literacy programme Imagination Library has gone into partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to provide blind and partially sighted children with free books each year.
The UK Imagination Library currently provides free books for children under 5, and will now extend to giving six braille or audiobooks each year to blind and partially sighted children in the UK.
Parton launched the new scheme by presenting a braille copy of The Tale of Peter Rabbit – the on millionth book to be delivered through the UK Imagination Library – to five-year-old Dylan Manifold from Liverpool, who was born with septo optic dysplasia, which means he has no sight except for a slight light perception.
Parton said: “I’m so excited that the 28,000 children who receive a book each month from the UK Imagination Library can now be joined by blind and partially sighted children thanks to our new partnership with RNIB.
“Now even more kids have the opportunity to develop a love of books from the earliest possible age.”
Clive Gardiner, RNIB’s head of digital and reading services, said: "We are delighted to be working with the Dolly Parton UK Imagination Library to ensure that blind and partially sighted children throughout the UK receive their very own accessible books in braille and audio.
“Books open up a world of adventure and education for children and their families, and RNIB is committed to making sure children who are blind or partially sighted can enjoy the same opportunities as their friends and classmates."
The UK Imagination Library launched in 2007, and distributes free books once a month to more than 28,000 under 5s across the UK.