The Outreach for Underserved Children program, part of Read to Me, provides resources to enhance outreach visits, reaching those children who cannot get to their local library and increasing the number of families with access to books in their homes during the school year. (We offer a similar program during the summer as part of the Bright Futures Program. If your outreach event occurs during the months of June, July or August, please apply to the Bright Futures: Outreach for Underserved Children program.)

School libraries may now apply independently to this program, on a case-by-case basis, if you do not have a public library nearby or if your public library cannot serve your school through their outreach efforts. Schools, please contact a Read to Me staff member to discuss your outreach effort and, if approved, a seperate school application link will be sent to you for completion.

By applying to this program, participating libraries agree to meet the following requirements –

  • Books provided through this program will NOT be given to students during a school assembly presentation (ICfL no longer supports this method as it has proven ineffective due to lack of parental contact);
  • Books provided through this program will NOT be used for Dia de los Ninos, Family Reading Week, or Summer Reading programs (ICfL offers sererate applications and support for these programs);
  • This program shall NOT be used to give children at your outreach event a new book each week or each time you visit. This program is designed to support one book per child or per family, depending on the size of your event;
  • Outreach efforts must be outside of the library wall and regular, in-house library programming, going to where the children who cannot reach their local library already are;
  • Offering a storytime or another library program element at your outreach event is highly encouraged.
  • Outreach efforts shall include the sharing of library programming, online access and library card promotion;
  • Participating libraries are encouraged to seek out local businesses and partners to help fund additional paperback books for these on-going and future outreach efforts.;
  • Participating libraries shall submit a final summary report for our outreach effort/s 2 weeks after the conclusion of the event, or at a pre-arranged timeframe if outreach event requires long-term implementation.

Due to increasing requests/popularity of this program, the affordability of certain types of books, and ICfL’s desire to stress formal partnerships and meaningful interaction between library staff and parents/caregivers, Outreach for Underserved Children now has new limits on book requests for this year:

  • Board Books – max of 50 board books total
  • Bilingual Books – max of 200 blingual books total
  • Overall Total – max request not to exceed 500 books per outreach event (For additional books for your event, consider the list of discounted book vendors below)
  • Number of Requests – max of 2 outreach events per library branch/per fiscal year
  • Little Libraries – ICfL can provide one-time, initial books to establish a partnership or a new outreach effort involving a Little Library, however ICfL is unable to re-stock Little Libraries. Libraries are encouraged to seek out local partners or discounted books to help re-stock Little Libraries (see list of discounted book vendors below).

(If these limitations keep our library from implementing your original outreach plan, please contact Kristina or Staci to discuss possible options.)

Application period for this program:

Aug 15 - April 30 each year (for program events held Sept 1 - May 31). Please apply at least 3-4 weeks prior to your outreach event.

Questions? Contact Read To Me Project Coordinator, Kristina Taylor

Kristina Tayloer

Kristina Taylor

Project Coordinator
Email / 208.639.4136
Read my Blogs

Institute of Museum and Library Services logoThis program is brought to you by the Idaho Commission for Libraries and was made possible, in part, by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.