The Outreach for Underserved Children program provides resources to enhance public library 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 throughout the year. This program has now absorbed a similar program that was offered in the summer months, the Bright Futures: Outreach for Underserved Children program, and is now offered year-round. The program application is now open August 1 – June 30 each year.

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 separate school application link will be sent to you for completion.

Program Objectives:

  • To increase access to books in the home of young children, reaching those children and families/caretakers who are unable or unlikely to access resources available at their local public library.
  • To provide information about free library programming and promote library cards to all members of the families/caretakers served.
  • To encourage out-of-school reading time and share affordable ways in which all families/caretakers can encourage this.

Program Requirements:

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

  • The library shall conduct outreach efforts outside of the library walls and regular, in-house library programming, going to where the children who cannot reach their local library already are and targeting the children and families who are currently not able to or are least likely to utilize the public library.
  • The library is encouraged to offer a storytime or another library program element at their outreach event if possible.
  • The library shall include the sharing of library programming, online access and library card promotion at their outreach event.
  • Participating libraries shall understand that this program is designed to support one book per child or per family, depending on the size of your event. This program shall NOT be used to give children at your outreach event a new book each week or each time you visit.
  • 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.
  • 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 separate applications and support for these programs);

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 has the following  limits on book requests for this year:

  • Number of Requests – max of 2 school-year outreach events per library branch/per fiscal year and 1 summer outreach event per library branch/per fiscal  year (ICfL’s fiscal years runs from July 1 – June 30 each 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)
  • 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.)

Program Application

Open August 1 – June 30

Apply 3-4 weeks prior to your outreach event.
Public Library Application

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.