New children's literature laureate Niamh Sharkey has announced that one of her key aims as reading and writing ambassador for young people will be to provide free books to young children:
As a picture book maker my focus will be visual as well as literary. I make books for very young children and over the next two years I want to reach those who don’t have easy access to books. One of my aspirations as Laureate is to gift a picture book to every newborn child in Ireland. I think it would say a lot about us as a country.
Like her predecessor Siobhán Parkinson, Sharkey has also stressed the need to support libraries, particularly in the current economic climate:
Over the years I have given countless workshops in libraries as a writer and illustrator. Some of the children at these workshops are being afforded access to books that they clearly haven’t had in their lives. Such workshops can offer them an introduction to the world of stories. As Laureate I’m keen to promote the highly valuable resource that Irish libraries are.
Since her appointment as Laureate na ng in May, Sharkey has worked to define her specific contribution to the role. The Gift a Book campaign marks an imaginative and tangible target, which we can all look forward to.