School Librararies access mini-grants2022-2023 School Library Access Mini-Grant Application Opens January 18, 2022 with Big Changes!

School libraries play a vital role in ensuring Idaho’s students learn and continually develop strong literacy skills from their earliest grades, throughout their academic careers, and beyond. Unfortunately, many Idaho schools haven’t had the resources to allow students in developmental preschool programs, kindergarten, and even first grade, the years they are learning to read, to check out books to take home. Students in many secondary schools have a selection of dated materials that do not meet their recreational or academic reading needs. To help school libraries provide students access to the books they need, the Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) is offering mini-grants to Idaho’s publicly funded elementary and secondary schools.

The 2022-2023 school year will see teachers and librarians connecting with students in a variety of combinations of in-person and remote learning to help kids make progress that may have been lost during the pandemic. With that in mind, now more than ever it is important for all students to have fingertip access to lots of engaging reading material.

Decades of research and empirical evidence shows a strong school library collection is linked with higher achievement in reading and other subjects, including math. Add the fact that for many students the school library is the only library where they can count on finding books to take home to read, and it becomes clear that a well-funded school library is essential for student success.

Application will be open January 18, 2022 through 11:59pm on April 1, 2022.

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 standards and 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 ICfL’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 2021 average price for a new hardback children’s nonfiction book is $19.83 (School Library Journal, 2/2021), and the average price of a new library bound children’s nonfiction book is $27.89 (School Library Journal, 2/21). 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 50 hardbound 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 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 2022-2023 SLA Mini-Grant Application opens January 18, 2022!

Early Literacy and Elementary Application

Apply for $1,000 to $5,000 in grant funds to increase students’ access to books from the school library.

Eligible schools:

  • are publicly-funded schools that serve any combination of elementary grades (including charter schools, tribal schools, and juvenile detention centers);
  • have never received an SLA Mini-Grant or received any SLA Mini-Grant during or before the 2018-2019 school year;
  • have a library with a contracted staff member serving as a librarian who manages the day-to-day operations of the library;
  • have a dedicated space that houses the library’s collection.

Secondary School Application

Apply for $1,000 – $5,000 in grant funds to increase students’ access to books from the school library, primarily for recreational and out-of-school reading.

Eligible Schools:

  • are publicly funded secondary schools that serve any combination of grades 6-12 (including charter schools, tribal schools, and juvenile detention centers);
  • have never received an SLA Mini-Grant or have received any SLA Mini-Grant during or before the 2018-2019 school year;
  • have a library with a contracted staff member serving as a librarian who manages the day-to-day operations of the library;
  • have a dedicated space that houses the library’s collection.

Clarifying Eligibility Notes:

  • Schools that serve a set of grades that don’t fit neatly into these two applicant groups (schools serving K-12, for example) should apply for the grant that includes the grade levels on which they wish to focus during that grant year.  A K-12 school receiving an Early Literacy & Elementary grant should plan on buying books for elementary grades, while a K-12 school applying for a Secondary School Grant should plan on buying books for Grades 6-12.  After three years have elapsed, that school may apply for another grant to buy books for the grades that were not allowable with the first grant.
    • Example: A K-12 school applies for and is awarded an Early Literacy & Elementary Mini-Grant for the 22-23 grant year.  Those grant funds must be spent on books for the elementary grades served at the school.  After three years, the school may apply for grant funding for the 26-27 school year with the Secondary School Mini-Grant.
  • Schools that serve Grade 6 only may choose the grant with the requirements that fit best with their school and library mission and goals with the understanding that whatever grant fits best, the school may receiving funding from the SLA Mini-Grant program every three years.

Funding Priorities:

While all publicly funded K-12 schools in Idaho are eligible to apply, SLA Mini-Grant program is a competitive grant and applications will be ranked according to the following priorities:

  1. First time applicants that serve students in PreK-Grade 2;
  2. Elementary schools that serve a high proportion of students experiencing poverty;
  3. High-quality, thoughtfully written grant applications from schools serving any grade;
  4. Statewide geographical distribution.

Check this document to see if/when your school has received a mini-grant in past years.

2021-2022.

School Library Access Mini-Grant Map for 2021-2022 Awardees:

2020-2021.

School-Library Mini Grants 2020-2021 map.

ICfL received 29 applications requesting a total of $126,000 and awarded $116,000 in Elementary School Library Mini-Grant funds. Awards range from $2,000 to $5,000 at 27 grantee sites across the state. Schools with developmental preschool programs on campus and larger proportions of students from lower-income families were given highest priority.  This year every qualifying application was funded!

For a map of the 2020-2021 school sites, click here.

2019-2020.

ICfL received 64 applications requesting a total of $230,000 and was able to award $200,000 in Elementary School Library Mini-Grant funds—ranging from $1,000 to $5,000—to 46 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 2019-2020 sites click here.

2018-2019.

Grants were awarded to 39 elementary school libraries totaling $182,000. Grants ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 to increase access to books for Idaho’s youngest students.

For a map of the 2018-2019 sites click here.

2017-2018.

Grants were awarded to 43 elementary school libraries totaling $200,000. Grants ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 to increase access to books for Idaho’s youngest students.

For a map of the 2017-2018 sites click here.

2016-2017.

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.

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

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.

2014-2015.

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.

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.

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.

Questions? Contact Jeannie.

Jeannie Standal

Jeannie Standal

School Library Consultant
Email / 208-639-4139
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