Summer Stem LogoThe Idaho STEM Action Center has provided funds to the Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) to award up to 65 public, school, or academic libraries $500 each to help pay for materials or presenters to support STEM outreach efforts during the summer. ICfL will also help provide a toolkit for learning activities, a branded yard sign and other resources. The Summer STEM from Your Library program has three primary goals:

  • Increase access to fun, engaging, hands-on STEM activities for underserved youth beyond the normal library programming efforts
  • Increase children’s access to books over the summer months
  • Increase the number of children who minimize learning loss during the summer

Summer STEM COVID-19 Update

Due to the uncertainty in planning library programs for the upcoming months during the Coronavirus pandemic, ICfL can offer flexibility to 2020 Summer STEM grant recipients in the following ways:

  • Summer STEM programming may take place between May 1 and September 30 (previously May 1 – August 31).
  • Summer STEM summary reports will be due on October 15, 2020 (previously September 15).
  • For this summer only, the term “outreach” includes virtual events on your libraries website or social media channels.
  • The goal of this grant is for libraries to encourage STEM learning during out-of-school time. In that spirit, here are some ideas on how you can use your grant funds if you are unable to plan an in-person program this summer:
    • Create a series of short videos on STEM projects that families can do at home
    • Assemble STEM kits to be distributed at food pantries or other places in your community, following safety and sanitation recommendations
    • Offer a virtual STEM classroom for children in your community
    • Mail STEM kits, books, and experiment ideas to families
    • Challenge kids to record their own at-home STEM activities and post them to your library’s social media
    • Create a STEM challenge that families can complete at home; send them a prize for proof of accomplishing the challenge

Check out this example of a virtual Summer STEM program from Lynette Leonard at Southside Elementary in Cocolalla: Summer Curiosity Camp

We plan on mailing Summer STEM books and other materials to your library before May 1. If you are unable to accept shipments or need to make other arrangements for receiving materials, please contact Tiffany Duke: If you have questions about implementing your Summer STEM program, please contact Jennifer Redford:

Applications for the 2020 Summer STEM grant are closed

Resources and Info

Who can apply:

Publicly-funded school, public or academic libraries in Idaho

Grant requirements:

  • Provide outreach activities for a minimum of five weeks during the months of May – August, 2020; public libraries must hold at least 40% of their programs away from the library
  • Survey attendees using a provided survey method and deliver results to ICfL
  • Provide ICfL with the final number of people who engaged in Summer STEM activities
  • Acknowledge the Idaho STEM Action Center and ICfL for their support of the Summer STEM program during each Summer STEM activity
  • Expend all grant funds on allowable expenses by end of grant period
  • Complete a summary report on how the STEM resources enhanced the library’s summer outreach (photos of programs are also encouraged)

Applications that meet the grant requirements will be awarded funding on a first-come, first-served basis. All types of publicly-funded libraries in Idaho may apply, but only libraries providing activities outside of their normal service models will be considered.


  • Planning your Summer STEM outreach programs: Use the STEM Toolkit to plan great activities and check out our STEAM Learning Resources page for lots of great ideas for your programs
    • During your programs, briefly explain the STEM concept that you are introducing
    • Make sure to include new vocabulary words for kids to learn during your activity
  • Partners: Consider partnering with a summer nutrition program; if you are a school or academic library, try partnering with your local public library
  • Location: Provide outreach activities in the park, at a Boys & Girls club, farmer’s market or other location outside of the library; open the school library during the summer to provide access to books along side STEM activities
  • Books: Try to provide access to books at your events – take bins of Little Libraries for kids to take & return, get gently used books from their Friends of the library group to hand out during outreach programs, etc.
  • Assessment: At the end of each Summer STEM program, you should ask the participants “What did you learn?
    • If you have time to write down (or take a video!) of some of their answers, that would be awesome. No worries if you don’t get a record of their actual answers. If you do take pictures and would like us to publish them in The Scoop or on social media, here’s a handy photo release form.
    • We’re doing assessment this way for a few reasons:
      • Giving participants the chance to explain what they learned helps them better understand the STEM concepts introduced during your activity
      • It helps younger children develop narrative skills and try out new vocabulary words
      • We’re trying out a way to assess this program without asking anyone to fill out a survey
  • Record statistics: You should track the following at every program for your summary report (we need this info when we are preparing our report for the STEM Action Center, who is generously providing funding for this program – we even made a fancy tracking sheet to make it easier):
    • Date of your program
    • Location
    • STEM Activity
    • How many people participated
    • Were the children and teens who attended your program able to tell you what they learned?
    • Were you able to reach underserved populations in your community?
  • SPEND ALL YOUR GRANT FUNDS: Your grant award of $500 can be used to purchase supplies for your STEM program, manipulatives or books; bring in awesome presenters; and up to 10% can be used on promotional materials
  • Save your receipts. Our grant reporting requirements have changed, and you will need to scan (or take a picture) and upload your receipts for Summer STEM purchases when you fill out your summary report. If you are unable to scan your receipts, contact Jennifer to make alternate arrangements:


  • Be afraid to try something new: Learning STEM is all about trying, failing, and trying again. This grant is a great opportunity to stretch yourself and learn something new!
  • Forget to record your statistics: We’re not asking for a lot of information, and it’s crucial for future funding requests

Important Dates & Info

  • Application period: January 1 – February 14
    • After you apply, a confirmation email will be sent to you and to your Director (public and academic libraries) or School Principal (school libraries)
  • Awardees notified: February 20
    • Grantees will be sent an email letting them know that they have been selected to receive a Summer STEM mini-grant

Distribution of funds: begins on March 15

  • Summer STEM programs: May 1 – August 31
  • Summary Report due: September 15
  • ICfL Support: In addition to $500 to fund your Summer STEM programs, we will also send each participating library STEM books and a few STEM-related supplies to get you started (that may or may not be left over from previous programs)


Before Submitting Your Report

Gather the following info (if you have been using our tracking sheet, this won’t take long):

  • The total number of people who attended your Summer STEM programs
  • The number of weeks that you held Summer STEM programs
  • The location(s) of your Summer STEM programs
  • A list of the STEM activities that you did during your programs
  • Be able to describe the response to your question at the end of each program: What did you learn today?
  • The names of any organizations that you partnered with
  • Be ready to briefly describe successes, challenges, suggestions, and the best thing that you purchased with your grant funds
  • Scan your receipts for Summer STEM purchases and be ready to upload them in your report. If you are unable to scan your receipts (or take a picture of them), contact Jennifer to make alternate arrangements:

Submitting Your Report

After you have completed your last Summer STEM program, fill out this Summary Report by October 15

Submit Summary Report

Jennifer Redford

Youth Services Consultant
Email / 208-639-4147
Read my Blogs