The Idaho Commission for Libraries and the Idaho Lottery Commission have partnered to support Idaho’s elementary school libraries. Most elementary school libraries in Idaho have insufficient funds to provide high-quality, age-appropriate books for their students to read at school or take home. With about 43% of Idaho school children qualifying for free or reduced lunch, many students are unlikely to have their own collection of books at home. Consequently, many Idaho children do not have access to enough reading material to become proficient readers, the basis for all other academic learning.
Thanks to the generosity of the Idaho Lottery Commission and those who play the lottery, Idaho’s elementary school libraries have the opportunity to apply for awards ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 to buy library books in the 2022-2023 school year.
This program is brought to you by the Idaho Commission for Libraries and was made possible by the Idaho Lottery Commission.
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 curriculum. 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 more than a third of Idaho’s 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.
Thanks to the generosity of the Idaho Lottery and its VIP members, $50,000 in funding has been made available to Idaho’s elementary school libraries to purchase age-appropriate books for students to check out from the school library and take home to read with their adults. School libraries may apply for funding in amounts of $1,000 to $3,000 in $1,000 increments.
The 2022-2023 Idaho Lottery Bucks for Books Award Application is closed.
Idaho’s publicly funded elementary school libraries that have not yet received a Bucks for Books Award were eligible to apply for up to $3,000 to buy books for the school library’s collection. Award recipients may receive a visit from a team from the Idaho Lottery with a big check and some fun extras!
Interested in applying next year? The 2023-2024 application will open in September of 2023.
Schools that have already received a Bucks for Books Award are not eligible to apply. Schools that have a School Library Access Mini-Grant during the year, please wait till next year to apply for Bucks for Books.
ICfL received 88 applications requesting a total of $232,000 and was able to award $30,000 in Bucks for Books Awards—ranging from $1,000 to $3,000—to 12 schools. Congratulations this year’s awardees, who were from school districts in all six regions of Idaho.
In the second year of the Idaho Lottery Bucks for Books Award, the ICfL received application from 37 schools requesting $88,000 in funding. The Idaho Lottery increased their support to $40,000, and so 19 Idaho elementary schools received awards of $1,000 to $3,000 to purchase new books for their school library collections.
ICfL received 43 applications from schools requesting $116,000 in funding. The Idaho Lottery Commission increased their contribution to $50,000, and the Idaho Commission for Libraries was able to contribute funds from other programs to fund 39 elementary schools for a total of $105,000 in Bucks for Books Awards! Congratulations to these awardees from across the state!