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.
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.
The 2019-2020 School Library Access Mini-Grant application window is now CLOSED.
Round 1 application
Apply for $1,000 to $5,000 in grant funds to increase students’ access to books during the school year for your school library. This opportunity is for schools that have never received a School Access Grant.
Round 2 application
Apply for $1,000 – $5,000 in grant funds to increase students’ access to books during the school year for your school library. This opportunity is for schools that have received a School Access Grant three or more years ago.
Check this document to see if your school has received a mini-grant in past years. Participating Libraries 2018-2019 39 Idaho elementary schools received $182,000 in grant funds for the 2019-2019 school year. Grants ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 to increase access to books for Idaho’s elementary students.
For a map of the 2018-2019 sites click here.
43 Idaho elementary schools received $200,000 in grant funds for the 2017-2018 school year. Grants ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 to increase access to books for Idaho’s youngest students.
Grants were awarded to 47 Idaho elementary schools totaling $200,000. Grants ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 to increase access to books for Idaho’s youngest students.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Important Grant Docs for Grantees:
- September 2018 Mini-Grant Webinar
- School Library Access Grant Best Practices
2017-2018 Summer Access Grantees:
- SLA Summer Access Mini-Grant Final Report— Postmark deadline: September 18, 2018.
2018-2019 Round 1 Grantees:
- Grant Agreement Template (Round 1 Grants)
- SLA Mini-Grant Interim Report (Round 1 Grants) — Deadline: Postmark deadline of January 18, 2019
- SLA Mini-Grant Final Report (Round 1 Grants)— Deadline: Postmark deadline of April 18, 2019
2018-2019 Round 2 Grantees:
- Grant Agreement Template (Round 2 Grants)
- SLA Mini-Grant Interim Report (Round 2 Grants) — Deadline: Postmark deadline of January 18, 2019
- SLA Mini-Grant Final Report (Round 2 Grants) — Deadline: Postmark deadline of April 18, 2019
- Financial Report Example #1 (for all grantees)
- Financial Report Example #2 (for all grantees)
- Press Release Template–2018-19 Mini-Grant-round 1
- Press Release Template–2018-19 Mini-Grant-round 2
- Sample Letter to Parents
- Mini-Grant News – December/January
Powerpoints from Elementary School Library Workshops (PDF Format)
- 2018-2019 Mini-Grant Business Meeting Presentation Slides
- 2018-2019 Supporting Beginning Readers Presentation Slides
Handouts: Supporting Beginning Readers
- Third Grade Reading: Why reading matters (Idaho Kids Count, 2011)
- Time Spent In and Out of School
- Access to Print Materials Improves Children’s Reading (Learning Point Associates, 2010)
- Reading Interest Survey (Scholastic)
- Top Ten Ways to Support Beginning Readers (School library, Public library, Principals)
- Sharing Books with Young Children (Saroj Ghoting, earlylit.net)
Handouts: Collection Development
- 2017 Nonfiction Booklist for Lower Grades
- 2018 Nonfiction/Fiction Suggestions for PK – 1
- 2018 Nonfiction/Fiction Suggestions for Upper Elementary
- Good Booklists and Sources to Choose High-Quality Books
- Weeding with CREW and MUSTIE (Cora Caldwell, Gooding School District)
- 10 Ways to Support English Language Learners in the Elementary School Library
- Serving LatinX Students in the Elementary School Library (adapted from Dr. Jamie Naidoo)
Questions? Contact Jeannie.