24 May 2022

Lift off for Laois Little Library Book Bags

Free Bags for children starting school in September


Cllr Conor Bergin (Cathaoirleach, Laois Co Council), Emma O'Riordain (Executive Officer) Rory Fahy, Suzanne Carroll (Senior Executive Librarian), Aidan Fahy & Sinead Brophy (Laois County Childcare)

Laois Libraries are delighted to announce a new initiative that will see every child starting school in September receiving a free Little Library Book Bag.

To help children navigate starting school, libraries have put together a bag of books especially for them that can be collected at any library. The initiative is a collaboration between libraries, the Department of Rural and Community Development, and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth as part of the First 5 Strategy.

Laois Libraries say the initiative will provide a My Little Library book bag to every child starting school in September for collection in the library, offer free library membership with a specially designed Little Library card wallet for the child, encourage free membership and use of the library for all children and adults in the family and include transition information for parents with each bag to support children on their learning journey.

The book bags are available in either Irish or English.

Parents can call into their nearest branch library and will be asked to sign a consent form and show a valid ID in order to get their child signed up as a new library member.

The child will then receive their Little Library book bag containing 3 library books, a story card about going to the library, a postcard the child can write or draw on and give to their new teacher on the first day of school and their very own library card in a special Little Library wallet.

The stories in the bags are about starting school, being happy in yourself and making friends. Library membership is free for everyone!

“Laois Libraries can’t wait to welcome all the 4 and 5 year old children in to collect their book bags and begin their library membership journeys.

“We hope that once they visit the library to pick up their book bag, our new library members and their families will come back regularly to keep their bag filled up with borrowed books and to take part in storytimes, classes and all the other events we have to offer at the library,” said the service.

There are 8 branch libraries in Laois located in Portlaoise, Portarlington, Mountmellick, Abbeyleix, Mountrath, Stradbally, Rathdowney and Durrow.

For more information on the service as well as opening times and contact details for each library visit

Pictured below at Portlaoise Library for the launch of the Laois Libraries Initiative - "My Little Library Book Bag" were: Emma O'Riordain (Executive Librarian), Cllr Conor Bergin (Cathaoirleach, Laois Co Council), Sinead Brophy (Laois County Childcare Committee) and Bernie Foran (Laois County Librarian). Photo: Michael Scully

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman launched the initiative on 4th April.

“I’m delighted to announce the roll-out of the First 5 ‘My Little Library’ initiative, inviting children to join their local library before they start school in September, and encouraging a new generation on a life-long love of reading and stories. Children’s books open really important pathways to learning about friendship, love and adventure, and allow children to expand their worlds with wonder and curiosity. By introducing children to reading at an early age, we can help to inspire young minds and open them up to a world of possibilities.”

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphries also welcomed the initiative. 

“As Minister with responsibility for public libraries, I am delighted to support this initiative. Libraries offer access to worlds of creativity, imagination and fun. This delivery of the First 5 My Little Library initiative through the 330 public libraries around the country will open these worlds up to every family with a child starting school. It will also promote early language and literacy development which is crucial for children’s success at the start of their education journey and beyond.” 

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