Elementary School Access Mini-Grants

Elementary school libraries play a vital role in ensuring Idaho children develop strong literacy skills, starting in the earliest grades. Unfortunately, many Idaho elementary schools haven’t had the resources to allow children in developmental preschool programs, kindergarten, and even first grade to check out books to take home. The Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) is offering mini-grants to schools to help increase access to books.

Background Information

The 2012 Idaho Comprehensive Literacy Plan states: “School libraries should have a minimum of 20 books per child to enable children to take multiple books home at each visit. This figure also takes into consideration the needs of teachers to have access to quality trade books to support the Common Core. In addition, it is recommended that...two new books per child should be added to the school library collection each year to allow for the addition of important new titles. Books and other literary materials must be updated annually…. Research suggests that at least five to eight books per child are necessary to support choice and motivation to read.”

Data from the Commission’s September 2012 Public Elementary School Library Study by Boise State University literacy professor Dr. Roger Stewart shows that most school districts spend very little if anything on reading materials for their elementary school libraries. The 2013 average price for a new hardback children’s book is $19.03 (School Library Journal, 6/2013). Dr. Stewart’s study found that 62 percent of Idaho elementary school libraries reported annual book budgets from their districts of under $1,000 – which would purchase a maximum of 52 books. Twenty-eight percent had budgets of under $100 – which would purchase a maximum of five books. These numbers fall extremely short of the Literacy Plan’s recommendations.

Most Idaho elementary school libraries have insufficient budgets to provide quality, age-appropriate books for their students to either read at school or take home. With 50 percent of Idaho school children qualifying for free or reduced lunch, many of them are not likely to have age-appropriate reading material at home. The result is that many Idaho children do not have access to enough reading materials to become proficient readers, the basis required for all other learning.

Grant Application
This year's School Library Access Mini-Grant application process is closed. Watch for a new grant cycle winter of 2016/2017.
Participating Libraries 2016-2017
In 2016-2017 47 Idaho elementary schools received $200,000 in grant funds. Grants ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 to increase access to books for Idaho’s youngest students.

For a map of the 2016-2017 sites click here.

Participating Libraries 2015-2016
In 2015-2016 47 Idaho elementary schools received $200,000 in grant funds. Grants ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 to increase access to books for Idaho’s youngest students.

For a map of the 2015-2016 sites click here.

Participating Libraries 2014-2015
This year, the Idaho Legislature approved a one-time increase of $100,000 for school library Mini-grants. ICfL received 80 applications requesting a total of $314,000 and was able to award $200,000 in grant funds—ranging from $1,000 to $5,000—to 49 schools. Those with developmental preschool programs on school grounds and high levels of students from lower-income families were given highest priority.

For a map of the 2014-2015 sites click here.

Participating Libraries 2013-2014
ICfL received 59 applications this year, requesting a total of $242,000. Schools that had developmental preschool programs on school grounds and high levels of student poverty were ranked highest. Grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 were awarded to 23 elementary schools.

For a map of the 2013-2014 sites click here.

Participating Libraries 2012-2013
The Idaho Commission for Libraries received mini-grant applications for the School Library Access mini-grants from 88 elementary schools requesting over $325,000 in funding support. We had $100,000 to award for improving access to print; $17,000 was awarded to several public libraries to start or expand deposit collections to increase access to print in daycare and Head Start centers and 20 elementary schools will receive grant funds ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

For a map of the 2012-2013 sites click here.

Reports and Documents
Important Grant Docs for 2016-2017 Grantees:
  • September 29, 2014 Mini-Grant Webinar
  • School Library Access Grant Best Practices

  • School Year Grantees:
  • Grant Agreement Template (School Year Grants)
  • SLA Mini-Grant Interim Report (School Year Grants) -- Deadline: Postmark deadline of January 13, 2017
  • SLA Mini-Grant Final Report (School Year Grants) -- Deadline: Postmark deadline of April 14, 2017

  • Summer Grantees:
  • Grant Agreement Template (Summer Grants)
  • SLA Mini-Grant Interim Report (Summer Grants) -- Deadline: Postmark deadline of January 13, 2017
  • SLA Mini-Grant Final Report (Summer Grants) -- Deadline: Postmark deadline of September 15, 2017

  • Financial Report Example #1 (for all grantees)
  • Financial Report Example #2 (for all grantees)

  • 2016-2017 Mini-Grant Press Release (Coming Soon!)
  • Time In and Out of School Handout
  • Sample Letter to Parents

  • Workshop Materials
    Powerpoints from Elementary School Library Workshops (PDF Format)
  • 2016-2017 Mini-Grant Training Power Point Presentation
  • Literacy Development
  • Circulation Policies
  • Informational Text
  • Weeding
  • Motivating Kids to Read
  • Summer Learning and ICfL Resources

  • Booklists
  • 2016 Nonfiction Booklist for Lower Grades