medical plus sign with state of idaho outlined in the center

Telehealth in Libraries

About Our Initiative

Due to the rural nature of Idaho, many communities lack sufficient medical and mental health care services to meet the needs of their residents. For many rural Idahoans, accessing these services requires long wait times for a local provider (if they exist) or traveling a long distance both ways to reach a clinic or hospital. Vulnerable populations such as the elderly or disabled, have additional hurdles seeking health care due to lack of independence and capabilities to transport themselves to appointments.  These barriers can ultimately lead some Idaho residents to choose not to seek services like mental health care, preventative check-ups, or support for managing chronic conditions like diabetes.

Connecting patients and doctors through telehealth is one way to overcome these barriers. However, while some patients may be able to access telehealth services from their home, others may lack sufficient internet speeds, may not have appropriate devices, may not have good enough digital literacy skills, or may lack privacy or a quiet space within their home. Libraries can help bridge this gap by providing a safe, private, reliable location to access telehealth services with staff who can help patients use the technology. As highly-trusted and well-connected institutions within their community, libraries are a perfect place to build or expand a community’s telehealth infrastructure.

The Idaho Commission for Libraries is working across the state with a variety of partners to build a solid foundation for telehealth in libraries. Our current projects include the Telehealth Trailblazer’s pilot project funded by the Blue Cross Foundation for Health, as well as the Upgrade Your Space project in partnership with the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare. In addition to these projects, the ICfL is undertaking the following broad activities to support this initiative:

  • Create a strong network of community partners across a variety of sectors to support and sustain the initiative, including government, nonprofit, and healthcare.
  • Explore and develop a variety of models for implementing telehealth in libraries, to suit a variety of communities and libraries.ICfL staff next to a telehealth sign in a library
  • Invest in the physical infrastructure of libraries to create private, digitally-enabled telehealth spaces in their communities.
  • Develop the skills and knowledge of ICfL staff to provide consultation and technical assistance to Idaho libraries around telehealth projects.

We welcome anyone with an interest in this project to reach out to us. We’d love to talk to you about any or all of the above activities and how you or your organization can get involved. For more information, please contact Deana Brown at

Telehealth LITT Chats

The ICfL hosts informal, periodic online meetings for library staff to discuss telehealth projects. These meetings are open to libraries at all phases of implementing a telehealth access point in their facility and will be announced via the libidaho list serve, and posted on our agency calendar as they are scheduled.

The purpose of these LITT chats is to facilitate networking and cross sharing amongst libraries and to provide a standing opportunity to check in with ICfL staff for technical assistance and support. There is no formal agenda, and we’ll chat with whoever shows up! On occasion, we may also have guest speakers and experts from the healthcare world in attendance as well.

For questions related to telehealth LITT chats, please contact Deana Brown at (208) 639-4156 or email

Upgrade Your Space

The Upgrade Your Space program is now closed, as we have reached our maximum funding threshold.

The Idaho Commission for Libraries is partnering with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) to help libraries create private, digitally enhanced spaces that can be used for telehealth. These spaces can also be used for other purposes when not in use for telehealth services. The DHW will be investing $500,000 over the course of two years into Idaho’s public libraries, and there will be multiple opportunities to apply. We will support as many libraries as funds allow. The DHW will also provide ongoing technical assistance, logistical support, and training for participating libraries.

Read on for additional details. A link to the application appears at the end of this section.

Construction crane lifting large letters that form the words "Upgrade your space" followed by basic details of the program. Text within the image reads "Don't worry, we'll do all the heavy lifting. No grant to manage! No vendors to deal with! Delivery right to your doorstep! Receive infrastructure and technology to provide telehealth services. Create a private, digitally enhanced space, customized to your library. Improve access to healthcare in your community. Access ongoing support, assistance and resources for telehealth.

Basic Details

This is not a grant, and selected libraries will not be required to receive, manage, or expend any funds. Libraries will submit a very basic application, and we will support as many libraries as funding will allow. Participating libraries will choose their preferred equipment and technology from a standardized list. The DHW will then work with a vendor(s) to purchase all of the equipment and items through a bidding process and coordinate the delivery and installation of equipment directly with each library.

Libraries will receive equipment to create a private space within their building. Options are available to suit a variety of library sizes and situations and will include either a stand-alone privacy pod, or portable room dividers. Libraries may also request technology to equip their spaces, including computers, cameras, monitors, and ring lights. Please note that the final products provided to participants will be dependent on which vendor DHW selects to fulfill their bid request.

Please review the product spec sheet and terms & condition information below for more details about available options and to determine if this project will be a good fit for your library. (NOTE – Cubicle walls will not be an option for Round 2).

If you are interested in participating in this project, but the sizes or scope of the equipment currently available doesn’t meet your needs, we’d still like to hear from you. Please let us know if a different size or option would work better for you in the open-ended question at the end of the application. Or you can reach out to Amelia to discuss options:


This opportunity is open to public and tribal libraries located in the state of Idaho. Although this is not a competitive application, the project will prioritize libraries serving rural communities with populations under 50,000 that are not part of a contiguous metropolitan area. However, libraries serving larger communities, significant marginalized populations, or those who are functionally rural but lie within a larger metro area may also be considered. Round 3 of the project will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis until the remainder of project funds are allocated, or until March 1, 2024 (whichever occurs first). If we receive more applications than we can accommodate, we will prioritize selection to those libraries who serve smaller and more rural communities, as well as libraries who fall in healthcare “deserts.” If you previously applied for this program and were not able to participate, we encourage you to apply again. All libraries will receive notification as to whether they have been selected.

Application Instructions

The application for the project is brief and simple. No narrative to write, no need statement to research, no budget to fill out. Libraries will be asked to complete three questions: (1) indicate the size of the community they serve, (2) select their preferred option of either a privacy pod, or movable room divider, and (3) indicate which items from a list of technology they would like to receive. There is also an open-ended response field for any additional information or questions you’d like to include with your application. Finally libraries will be asked to agree to the terms and conditions of the project. We will accept as many libraries as possible in each round.


Round 3 of this project will operate on a first-come, first-served basis through March 1, 2024, or until all remaining funds are allocated. For those libraries requesting a privacy pod, we encourage you to check with your board, city inspector, and other entities as appropriate to determine if this option meets your safety and building code requirements prior to submitting your application. Once libraries are selected and notified, it will take between two and five months for delivery of equipment. The DHW will be in regular contact with participating libraries regarding the status and delivery date of their equipment.

Round 3 Timeline:

  • Application Release: December 7, 2023
  • Application Due: No later than March 1, 2024 (or until funds are obligated, whichever occurs first). Applications will be reviewed and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis during Round 3.
  • Selection and Notification: Within one week of submitting application.
  • Equipment delivery: estimated Spring/Summer 2024 (may be sooner)

Application – Now Closed

The application period for Round 3 opened on December 4, 2023 and remained open until February 20, 2024, when all funds were obligated. At this time the program is closed to further applications.

Deana Brown

Adult Services Consultant
Email / 208-639-4156
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