Notes from ICfL

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Appropriations: The Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017 is Senate Bill 1392. The bill appropriates $5,525,300 to ICfL for fiscal year 2017 and limits the number of authorized full-time equivalent positions to 37.5.  The Joint Finance Appropriations Committee also approved $180,000 in funding for ICfL, in accordance with SB 1334—legislation about broadband funding for schools and libraries—for reimbursement of the non-E-rate portion of public libraries’ internet services provider charges. This new funding opportunity, part of SB 1429,
has unexpected “legislative intent” language attached to it that requires a
library to filter the Wi-Fi it provides for users’ personal devices in order to
be eligible for the state reimbursement. SB 1429 also appropriates $2.7 million
to the Broadband Infrastructure Fund for matching grants to schools and
libraries that receive E-rate funding for broadband construction projects.

Make It at the Library: At the end of February, staff from 16 libraries across the state came to the Commission and participated in the annual Make It training. ICfL’s Make It at the Library program is in its fourth year of providing training and resources for librarians wanting to explore the Maker Culture and the plethora of programing ideas that go along with it. A librarian from Salmon Public Library shared a story on their website of how he put the facilitation training into practice and guided a restless youngster through the process of discovering how circuits work. This success with facilitation has expanded to engaging the entire community. While this program started out as a technology-focused training for library staff working with teens, ICfL is changing it up a bit this year. We realize that Maker Culture is not just about 3D printing and robots, but about providing experiential opportunities for customers of all ages. Applications for next year’s program will be open in the fall. If your library is in need of ideas for Making, check out Make it at the Library or follow us on Facebook

Smart Investing @ your library: In early March, the final debrief was held for libraries in south central Idaho that participated in the Smart Investing @ your library FINRA grant program. Librarians shared stories about their programs and what worked well. At Gooding Public Library, a young adult volunteering in the library as part of his community service reviewed the information about saving and identifying “needs” versus “wants.” He decided to stop smoking and use the money saved to pay for his truck. Within a few months he had paid off the truck, and was still smoke free! 

Public Library Directors’ Summit: ICfL hosted the first Idaho Public Library Directors’ Summit January 2728, 2016. Thirty-eight public library directors from throughout the state met for two days in Boise to connect, communicate, and create. This meeting provided a venue for public library directors from around the state to identify policy issues that specifically impact public libraries, as well as initiate a Community of Practice. Maureen Sullivan, of Maureen Sullivan Associates and former ALA President, presented the keynote focused on the value of community engagement. Phil Eastman of Leadership Advisors Group, focused on leadership change engagement. Alison Macrina, of Library Freedom Project, spoke on privacy and security issues in the library and created a page of resources for Idaho libraries at

Participants spent time identifying the challenges facing public libraries in today’s fast-paced environment. The  summit concluded with an in-depth discussion on the Strategic Priorities being developed by ICfL to provide a road map for addressing statewide issues that impact public libraries. Participants provided input about areas of need and identified those areas that are relevant to their communities. Information and summaries from the event, along with resources for public library directors, are available at   

Microsoft Imagine Academy: The Idaho State Department of Education (SDE) is working on year two of Microsoft Imagine Academy (formerly Microsoft IT Academy) for schools and public libraries. Interested libraries are still working on getting up and running. ICfL holds monthly online “support groups” for libraries on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 11:00 a.m. MDT at These have been a good method to track progress and identify issues. ICfL is working with SDE and the Idaho Department of Labor to pilot programs at two libraries that target veterans and lower-income populations. 

Let’s Talk About It (LTAI) application deadline is May 20, 2016: Public library directors will receive LTAI applications in the mail. Idaho public libraries are invited to apply for the Fall 2016 and Winter/Spring 2017 Let’s Talk About It book discussion program. Funding is available for up to 17 libraries to participate. Participating libraries provide a $100 cash match and work with community partners to promote the program in their communities. You can also get the application and more information at