BOISE, Idaho ÔÇô A dozen lucky elementary schools across the Gem State have recently received new books and cash contributions for their school library, all thanks to the Idaho Lottery and their generous VIP Club members. Over the past two weeks, the Idaho Lottery has been sharing some holiday joy as they delivered books and some big checks to these schools.
"The Idaho Lottery was created specifically to benefit public education in the State of Idaho," said Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery Director. "Supporting elementary school libraries, and youth literacy through our Bucks for Books program, is yet another way we further our mission of benefiting public schools."
Two of the local recipients were Central Elementary in Nampa and Van Buren Elementary in Caldwell. Central Elementary received a check from the Idaho Lottery for $1,000 while Van Buren Elementary received a check for $3,000. Both received a festively wrapped, oversized box of books.
"Our students struggle with reading and feel our library has 'no good books'," said Michelle Schafer, librarian at Central Elementary. "There are less than 50 books per grade level and once they start reading, they go through them very quickly."
"Van Buren Elementary School serves a diverse population of students who vary greatly in their reading interest and proficiency," said Gretchen Perkins, the school's librarian. "This award will help facilitate reaching our school's mission to ensure that students and staff are literate users for ideas and information."
When each of the over-sized box of books was opened at the schools, all the students who were gathered for the ceremony erupted in enthusiastic cheers.
BACKGROUND ON BUCKS FOR BOOKS
The American Library Association recommends that an effective school library requires 15 - 20 books per student in a school's collection, with an annual budget allocation of $12 - $15 per student each year to replace lost and damaged materials and to maintain a current, relevant collection.
According to the Idaho Commission for Libraries, in the Gem State, though, a majority of Idaho public schools lack sufficient resources for their entire annual library needs. About 28% of public elementary schools report an annual budget of $100 or less for book procurement, while 62% of Idaho's elementary schools report an annual budget of less than $1,000. This is why the Idaho Lottery, in coordination with the Idaho Commission for Libraries, introduced its Books for Bucks Idaho School Library Program.
Bucks for Books is a concept that started with a conversation at Governor Little's first Capital for a Day in Emmett. It's a fundraising program by the Idaho Lottery and its VIP Club members that ran during the month of September. The Idaho Lottery asked their members to donate their VIP Club points to support the project.
"Instead of entering sweepstakes to win additional prizes, or using their points to buy purchasable items, players stood with us during the month of September and donated their loyalty points to this worthy cause," explained Anderson.
The Idaho Lottery raised over $30,000 to support the program by generous players during September.
In October, Schools applied through the Idaho Commission for Libraries for the Bucks for Books funds. Awards were decided during November and ranged from $1,000 to $3,000.
In addition, the Idaho Lottery conducted book drives in November at Idaho Barnes & Noble locations to encourage community giving, additional books and donations, to this program.
Below is a list of all winners (by geographical location, north to south, then west to east):
Naples Elementary School, Boundary County School District, Naples - $2,000
Bryan Elementary School, Coeur d'Alene School District, Coeur d'Alene - $3,000
Riggins Elementary, Joint School District #243, Riggins - $1,000
Payette Primary School, Payette Joint School District, Payette - $3,000
Van Buren Elementary, Caldwell School District, Caldwell - $3,000
Central Elementary, Nampa School District, Nampa - $1,000
Hillcrest Elementary, Boise School District, Boise - $3,000
West Elementary School, Mountain Home School District, Mountain Home - $3,000
Shoshone School District, Shoshone School District. Shoshone - $3,000
Harrison Elementary, Twin Falls School District, Twin Falls - $2,000
Tiebreaker Elementary, Bonneville School District, Idaho Falls - $3,000
Malad Elementary School, Oneida County School District, Malad City ÔÇô $3,000