Libraries, Schools and Others Work to Minimize the Summer Slide

Public libraries throughout the state are currently knee-deep in summer reading programs and outreach efforts. This is usually the busiest time of year for them as they work to help students maintain the reading gains made during the school year while providing fun activities that draw kids of all ages into the library during their summer vacation. The Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) has worked with public and some school libraries for over 40 years to provide resources and support to strengthen summer programs and reach more children who may have barriers in participating.

Last year over 45,000 children participated in summer reading programs offered in nearly every one of the 143 public libraries in Idaho. While that number represents a big chunk of Idaho students and preschoolers, ICfL staff took a careful look at the data from public libraries partnering with elementary schools serving a high percentage of low-income students and found that fewer than 20 percent of the children in most of those schools were participating in public library summer reading programs. “Those are the kids who are most at risk of losing reading skills over the summer if they don’t have access to books,” ICfL Summer Reading Coordinator Staci Shaw said. “If only two out of every ten elementary students are participating in summer reading, we are going to be spinning our wheels in these communities. The cumulative effect of low-income children who don’t read for pleasure summer after summer is an achievement gap that can be as wide as four years by the time they get through high school. We have to find other ways to ensure they are reading for pleasure during those months.”

Working closely with Boise State University Literacy Professor Dr. Roger Stewart, staff at the ICfL launched a pilot program last year to keep six elementary schools open over the summer and provided K-2 students in three of those schools with six paperback books the students selected themselves during the last weeks of school. These research-based strategies come from Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen’s Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap, a book that has been widely shared in trainings for public and school librarians. Allington asserts that summer reading loss accounts for roughly 80 percent of the rich/poor reading achievement gap, yet far too little attention is given to this pressing problem. While Idaho Reading Indicator scores didn’t budge during the first year of the ICfL’s Summer Slide pilot program, new strategies and efforts in Year 2 of the program are in place and staff members are optimistic that more students will minimize their summer slide this year. Participating schools are Horizon Elementary in Jerome, Mountain View Elementary in Burley, Desert Sage Elementary in the West Ada School District, Wilson Elementary in Caldwell, and Fernan Elementary in Coeur d’Alene.

Focus groups with parents and work done in past years to increase participation found that many parents do not understand how crucial it is for children to spend time outside of the school day reading. Radio public service announcements in English and Spanish began airing statewide in April and will run through June to help convey the importance of out of school reading time. (You can listen to the 30-second ads at Students who only read in school will rarely be great readers. The time spent in school is usually enough time to learn to read, but not nearly enough time for most kids to become proficient at reading. “The radio ads are short, but the more times and different ways parents hear this message the more likely they are to act on it,” Shaw said.

Another strategy libraries are using to reach children who may struggle with reading or have barriers getting to a library is to “follow the food.” Idaho had 321 Summer Nutrition Feeding Sites in 2014 and the ultimate goal is to provide books and learning enrichment activities from the library at as many of these sites as possible. ICfL and library staff from Ada Community Library and Boise and Garden City Public Libraries are in their third year of hosting “Literacy in the Park” programs in partnership with the Idaho Foodbank’s Picnic in the Park program. Each of the 26 parks and low-income housing sites served through the Foodbank’s lunch program get a weekly visit from library staff who bring bins of paperback books for the kids along with fun science and other learning activities. Over 12,000 children of all ages participated in Literacy in the Park last summer and surveys conducted the last two weeks of the program showed participating children enjoyed the books they borrowed and 75 percent said they read more that summer than past summers. One-third of parents surveyed during the last two weeks of the program attributed the increase in reading to Literacy in the Park efforts.

ICfL VISTA Volunteer Levi Orr reads to children during last year’s Literacy in the Park program.
ICfL VISTA Volunteer Levi Orr reads to children during last year’s Literacy in the Park program.

A third of the public libraries in the state are planning similar outreach efforts this summer at feeding sites along with visits to daycares, migrant and seasonal Head Start programs and summer school programs. ICfL is providing over 10,000 paperback books for public libraries to use in these efforts.

“Libraries are working with schools and as many partners as possible to reach youth who wouldn’t normally participate in summer reading programs. We are excited about how these partnerships are shaping up and the efforts being made to ensure fewer kids will arrive at school in the fall who are behind their peers who have had access to books,” Shaw said.

ICfL staff can share more information about Idaho’s efforts to combat the summer slide at library board meetings and/or by providing copies of Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap for library staff or trustees. Contact Stephanie Bailey-White, for more information about getting a book or scheduling a brief presentation.

Stephanie Bailey-White has been with the Idaho Commission for Libraries for 23 years and helped launch the Read to Me Program in 1997 to advance early literacy statewide. She has a Master’s Degree in Reading Education and loves seeing Read to Me programs in action across the state.

Idaho Libraries Creating a Maker Culture

This article is a follow-up to the “Idaho libraries shake up the maker movementarticle in the Fall 2013 Idaho Librarian. Library staff members who participated in the first year of “Make It at the Library” were surveyed about their experiences implementing the maker project and the changes they’ve seen as a result. Their responses have been incorporated below.


In early 2013, the Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) developed the “Make It at the Library” pilot project to implement a maker culture in public libraries across Idaho. It was a successful and exciting first year. We worked with five libraries—Ada Community Library; Community Library Network; Gooding Public Library; Meridian District Library; and Snake River School Community Library—to embrace “making” and push the boundaries of programming with tweens and teens.

Each library exceeded every expectation and demonstrated innovation, creativity, and drive in the implementation of the project. Through their maker programs, the libraries served 3,585 teens/tweens and 1,120 families, and engaged 4,650 people through outreach events. As they nurtured a maker culture in their communities, the five libraries created 18 partnerships and hosted 66 programs with these partners.

These successes made us even more excited to open up the opportunity to libraries for a second year. In year two, we plan to share best practices, replicate the project with new libraries, use pilot library staff as mentors, and continue to expand programming in the pilot libraries. Libraries from the first year of the project have committed one new staff member to attend trainings with the six new libraries selected from eleven applicants to participate in the second year of the project: Aberdeen District Library; Buhl Public Library; East Bonner County Free Library District; Jerome Public Library; Portneuf District Library, Chubbuck; and Twin Falls Public Library. Each of the new libraries has committed two staff members to participate in the year-long project. The first workshop took place February 24-25 at the Commission and focused on developing a foundational understanding of the maker culture and the design process, along with exploration of construction, simple machines, engineering, and architecture. (See a newspaper article and brief news video of the workshop.) A two-day training in May will focus on robotics, and a final two-and-a-half day training in November will cover 3D design, 3D printing, and e-textiles.

We are leveraging feedback from first year libraries to build on successes, learn from their challenges, and allow other libraries to replicate the Make It project. Library staff comments demonstrate exciting shifts in library use, library users, and benefits to the community as a result of the project.

Changes in library use

Staff report patrons are coming in more frequently, meeting with others, staying longer, jumping into more hands-on activities, delving into exploration, teaching others what they’ve learned, collaborating on projects, using problem solving skills, working together as families, and showing increased interest in technology and STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) activities. People “routinely bring in projects that they are working on, from remote-controlled cars that they are modifying to arduino-controlled devices that they have created,” and use the library’s 3D printer and Fischertechnik® engineering kits to design and create. Tweens/teens are more engaged, use the library as a place to explore and work on longer-term projects, take ownership in the maker area, and take pride in their projects and the challenges they’ve overcome. Many makers are truly connecting with the library for the first time. Plus, community members are volunteering to help with Make It programs!

makeithappenpicPlanning and working together

– Photo by Gooding Public Library

Overall, there is an increased awareness of all the library has to offer. The view of the library as a “depository for information” is changing to one of a “meeting and learning place,” a “place where creation happens.” Libraries also report an increased sense of community. One librarian said, “One day, we had patrons of all ages creating snowflakes out of cupcake liners to hang on our Christmas tree. I never thought such a simple thing could bring the community together like it did.”

Changes in who is using the library

Libraries have also seen an increase and shift in who is using the library as a result of the project. Specifically: more patrons of a variety of ages, from students to patrons 50 and older; older children and high school-age users participating more in library programs and the maker events; and homeschoolers coming into the library to participate in makerspace programs, use the library as a resource, and benefit from the social aspect of the Make It space. There has also been an increase in psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR) workers and their clients, due to the “social nature of the programs and the skills that children and tweens learn in a maker environment. Social development is enhanced when children work together to create and solve problems.” One participating librarian also noted: “Our public in general seems to be looking toward us more and more as a resource for technology. Specifically because of the 3D printer, I’ve heard many business people consult us when they are looking to make technology purchases of their own.”

Community/patron benefits 

The “Make It at the Library” project has given libraries the opportunity to create a culture and place that offer a broadened experience. Whole families engage in activities, “strengthening family bonds which in turn can keep parents involved in their kids’ lives and interests over the long-term, thus increasing their likelihood to finish school/go on.” Participants have been observed teaching each other what they have learned. Libraries are focusing more on STEAM program offerings and incorporating math and science into storytimes. Some teens have indicated that they now want to participate in quality STEAM-related courses at school. Some individuals who have had their first practical exposure to computer programming at the library are now enthusiastically writing programs of their own design for arduino devices. Other participants have learned fundamental engineering principles such as gear ratios and leverage by engaging with Fischertechnik® engineering kits.

Library programming is becoming more informal (stealth programming), with an emphasis on group exploration. Instead of “instructing patrons,” libraries are creating an environment where patrons can explore and discover independently as well as collaboratively. Staff members have become more confident and excited about science and technology, and about sharing what they have learned. Staff is also “becoming more comfortable with the idea that they can run a maker program and not know all of the answers.” Libraries are sparking an interest with families and teens because they now know that they can have an even wider variety of experiences at their local library. Staff looks at programming as more of a partnership than a teacher/student relationship or presentation. One librarian said, “By creating programs without a specific outcome, the results have been amazing. Especially with teens and tweens, the amount of group work that happens spontaneously is extremely rewarding.”

The maker tools also have increased awareness and interest in the community. Patrons see the libraries as a place that offers resources they can’t get anywhere else, both because of the actual materials (robot kits, engineering kits, 3D printer, etc.) and how libraries approach their maker activities. With the 3D printer at one library, students in the drafting class are learning how to print their own designs. One student is printing a miniature rocket he has been working on for several years.

ICfL staff looks forward to watching the learning, the making, and the creativity happen in year two as the pilot libraries expand and enhance their maker programs and the new libraries begin offering new programs to their communities. Watch for future articles, where we will take a closer look at successful “Make It at Your Library” partnerships and projects.

If you would like to read more about what we are doing in Idaho, please visit us at the Idaho Commission for Libraries’ website at . To follow our progress please *LIKE* our Facebook page: The “Make It at the Library” project is made possible in part by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and a grant from the Micron Foundation.IMLS logo

By Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL): Teresa Lipus, Public Information Specialist; Sue Walker, project coordinator; and Erica Compton, project coordinator

ILA Chapter of ACRL

As ILA Academic and Special Libraries Division members know, a move begun in recent years to create a state chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries. Previous division leaders Kim Leeder and Jenny Semenza began exploring the possibility of applying for chapter membership during their involvement with the division.  A survey of Idaho academic librarians indicated enough interest in chapter creation to pursue the matter. Recently, a letter detailing the some possible options for creating a chapter was sent members of the division, and further discussion of these possibilities took place at the division’s annual meeting in Pocatello. This article’s purpose is to share information related to chapter membership with other members of the Idaho library community, especially academic librarians who may not be members of ILA.

A detailed explanation of chapter possibilities may be found in the article, but to summarize the main points:

  • It is not mandatory to be a national ACRL member to join a state chapter.
  • Holding an academic library position is not required for membership in the chapter.
  • Chapter creation need not result in any extra dues for members.
  • The election of officers separate from division officers is not required.

Two main benefits accrue to states that have a chapter. First, individual chapters receive $1 per member from the national ACRL, or a minimum of $100.  This money can be used for division activities, including paying speakers at annual chapter meetings. Perhaps more importantly, state chapter membership offers the opportunity to have representation in the ACRL Chapters Council. The goals of this national group are as follows:

  • To support the goals and initiatives of ACRL National
  • To facilitate communication between ACRL members and ACRL leadership
  • To encourage and support local ACRL chapters goals and initiatives
  • To build membership of ACRL at the local and national levels

ACRL requires that state chapters be formed in one of two manners: by becoming an independent non-profit entity or by affiliating with a state library association.  During 2012, the Idaho Library Association Board was informed of the division’s interest in pursuing chapter membership and asked if it would support a chapter affiliation with ILA.  Board members expressed interest in the idea, and asked for a formal proposal from the division once decisions about the potential chapter’s structure were made. For reasons related to the work required to form a separate non-profit, the division’s past-chair, current chair, and current vice-chair favor an affiliated chapter rather than an independent chapter. Division members present at the ILA Annual Meeting on Oct 5, 2012 in Pocatello also supported this arrangement.

ACRL gives state chapters the ability to make independent decisions regarding dues and membership requirements.  State chapters can codify these decisions in member approved by-laws. Regarding dues, state chapters may but do not have to charge additional dues beyond those required by the state library association. For comparison, Washington’s chapter (which is not affiliated with their state association) charges national ACRL members $5.00 for state chapter membership and those not members in the national ACRL $10.00 for state chapter membership. Oregon charges $10 for state chapter membership on top of the regular Oregon Library Association dues.  Montana, however, does not charge anything for state chapter membership after members have paid their Montana Library Association dues. Regardless of how dues are decided, the ILA Board has offered to create a separate bank account for a chapter, which would be administered by the board’s treasurer.

Membership requirements are likewise left up to the discretion of the individual state chapters. It is not required for all state chapter members to be members of the national ACRL although at least one member of the division must be a national member. State chapters do have the ability to require membership in the state library association (if the chapter is affiliated with the state library association), and Oregon and Montana chapters do this. It is not required for state chapter members to be academic librarians although some chapters such as Montana’s make this a requirement. With regard to chapter leadership, it is possible but not required that the division chair and vice-chair also act as chapter chair and vice-chair.  (Should a division chair or vice-chair be from a special rather than an academic library, it might make sense to have a separate chapter chair for that particular year).

In order to make decisions about a potential chapter, division leaders have set up an online survey to gauge preferences.  To complete this survey please visit: The survey is open to all librarians, regardless of ILA membership status or division status. Should enough librarians express an interest in forming and joining a chapter, the division’s past chair, present chair, and present vice-chair will draft a formal proposal to take to the ILA Board.  The proposal will make a recommendation for chapter structure as indicated by survey results.  We would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to complete this survey, as we look forward to proceeding with possible chapter creation.

For questions or additional information, please contact Rami Attebury at, Jeremy Kenyon at, or Marilia Antunez at

Libraries as Brain Health Centers

Most of us know the basics of a healthy body lifestyle: good nutrition, plenty of rest and exercise, no smoking. But what is a healthy brain lifestyle?

Sixty staff from all types of libraries attended an ILA pre-conference workshop sponsored by the Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) to explore brain health and discuss how libraries can support brain health in their communities. Dr. Paul Nussbaum, Clinical Neuropsychologist, updated participants on brain structure and function and the myriad of ways to keep brains alert and developing. Because brains thrive on the complex and novel, libraries can play an important role in supporting brain health by providing programs and activities that support brain stimulation in any of the following areas:

 Mental stimulation

 Nutrition

 Physical activity

 Socialization

 Spirituality

Co-presenter Stephen Ristau introduced the concept of libraries as brain health centers, provided numerous examples of library activities that support the above areas, and led participants through an exercise to identify outcomes, possible activities, potential partners, and evaluation methods for each of the brain health areas.

The presentation ended with the following observations from Dr. Nussbaum:

 Brain health is a culture not a program

 Education is the base of brain health

 Brain Health can help position the library as a “go to” place

 Important for library staff to “walk the walk” and believe in the concept of libraries as brain health centers

ICfL staff will explore ways the Commission can help develop the concept throughout the state as part of its Mid-Life Adult initiative which focuses on programming for adults 50-65 years of age. The morning session of the presentation was archived and is available at: along with handouts distributed at the workshop and a summary of break-out sessions in each of the brain health support areas listed above. Contact Erica Compton or Sue Walker at ICfL for more information about Mid-Life Adults programs sponsored by the Commission such as VolunteerMatch or NextAvenue.

ALA Resolutions: Why do they do that?

by Gina A. Persichini

It is often asked, “Why doesn’t ALA work on improving library funding instead of spending time on all those resolutions?”  The easy answer would be to explain that ALA does, in fact, address funding issues all the time. They have offices and staff that spend a considerable amount of their time addressing funding for libraries.  The more complex response addresses the underlying, unasked question, “Aren’t resolutions a waste of time?”

No, they have a very real function.  To explain, though, we have to delve briefly into some ALA hierarchy.  ALA Council is the governing body of the Association. Council determines ALA policies. There is a 12-member ALA Executive Board made up of members of the Council. They act for Council in the administration of established policies and programs and, as such, manage the affairs of the Association. ALA also has an Executive Director and staff. The Executive Director has the authority to carry out activities for the operation of the Association and implementation of policies & programs. He also directs a staff to carry out these efforts.  There are many more relationships that make up the structure involving offices of ALA and standing committees, but that is a good starting place.

ALA has over 60,000 members. As an organization, the challenge is to figure out how to represent the needs of 60,000 individuals and libraries with a unified voice.  That means ALA staff need guidance from Council and the Executive Board – representatives of the membership – to be sure the association is acting on behalf of the members.

One way they provide that guidance is through resolutions.  Resolutions, if passed, state the opinion of the assembly considering them.  So, where Council represents the membership of ALA, resolutions represent the opinion of ALA. Resolutions can be used to establish policy or to establish a position on an issue.

How does it work? If I want ALA to take a stand on something, then I need to direct ALA to do so. It’s not enough to say that ALA needs to take a stand on; the people that speak on behalf of ALA members need to be clear what that stance is.

A resolution includes WHEREAS clauses that provide a background or reasoning behind the point being made. It is usually among these WHEREAS clauses where one will explain why the issue is important to libraries. WHEREAS clauses will, in the best of situations, succinctly lay the foundation for the resolution.

Then we get to the RESOLVED clauses. The RESOLVED clause states the opinion and/or directs action.  For example, ‘be it RESOLVED that the ALA (1) thinks ABC is bad, (2) urges some organization to stop doing ABC, and (3) sends notice to that organization and its stakeholders to let them know where we stand on the issue of ABC.’

Resolutions, once drafted, are considered by the ALA Council. Often, background information is provided, members of Council think about it, have discussions to hear multiple sides of an issue, and vote whether to pass the resolution or not.  If passed, then ALA Executive Board, the Executive Director, and staff have their orders (in the form of the resolved clauses) to take action. It also provides the parameters for how those ALA leaders might publicly speak about a particular issue.

It is not just about taking a stand on issues. As mentioned earlier, Council is also a policy-setting body.  Not too long ago, ALA members drafted a resolution that would, if passed, direct ALA staff to improve transparency by sharing transcripts and audio recordings of Council sessions. Council sessions were already recorded to assist staff in creating minutes. Plus, council sessions are transcribed for the hearing impaired.  Knowing these functions were already in place, these members wanted that information shared for those who were unable to extend travel arrangements to observe Council meetings.  The resolution was brought by two Councilors and, after considerable discussion about potential costs and benefits, the resolution passed. It is now an ALA policy that audio recordings and transcripts of Council sessions are shared via the ALA website with all members.

Resolutions can be introduced by certain ALA committees, by a member of the ALA Council, or by members through the Membership Meetings.  So, if anyone has a matter they would like to ALA address, they need only take it to one of those sources. That isn’t as daunting as one might think. Because the make-up of Council includes a representative of each Chapter of ALA, it means that every state has a liaison.  To bring up an issue or find out how ALA is already tackling an issue, you need only contact your state’s Chapter Councilor.  And, rest assured, this Idaho Chapter Councilor would be delighted to hear your ideas.

Gina Persichini is the Networking Consultant at the Idaho Commission for Libraries and serves as Idaho’s Chapter Councilor to ALA. To have your idea for ALA heard, contact Gina at

The University Authors Recognition Reception at Boise State University: A Celebration of Scholarship

by Julia Stringfellow and Michelle Armstrong

Albertsons Library at Boise State University recently held its seventh annual University Authors Recognition (UAR) Reception.  The reception was first held in 2006 to honor university faculty and their scholarship.  Taking place usually the last week of February, the reception provides a great opportunity for faculty and staff across campus to come together to learn about and celebrate one another’s scholarship.

As with any high-profile university event, planning began early and collaboration was done throughout campus.  The UAR committee began working on this project in the fall of 2011and was comprised of both librarians and staff from different units in the library.  To facilitate the preparations for the reception, a Google site and checklist of things to do was created.  Since the Library always makes a point of trying to include the University’s administration in the reception program, one of the first tasks completed was to finalize the date of the reception.  By doing this, the Provost, College Deans, and even occasionally the University President are able to attend.

Another important task completed was the creation of the UAR bibliography.  The authors recognized for the 2012 reception published works from September 2010through August 2011, and included books, book chapters, articles from peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, and other creative works.  Boise State’s institutional repository, ScholarWorks, was a very helpful tool in creating the bibliography of authors’ works.  Using the publication information already gathered by repository staff was very efficient and far less time-consuming than how the bibliography was assembled in the past.  Previously the bibliography was developed through an open call to faculty for publication information and extensive research by the committee to track down recent faculty publications.  In addition to the bibliography, an author’s gallery was created using faculty SelectedWorks sites.  These are webpages created by repository staff that showcase a professor’s individual publications.

As a result of these efforts the bibliography is now on ScholarWorks   As a virtual collection, the main URL will be kept and the filters for creating future bibliographies will be updated each year.  The bibliography brings to light the diverse kinds of scholarship, from works on Second Life to climate variability.  Using the open-access format of ScholarWorks to showcase the bibliography greatly increase the accessibility of the author’s works and shares it with a larger community.  The bibliographies on ScholarWorks from past years will be archived and continue to be accessible on the ScholarWorks website.

The many details of the event also included making decisions about displays for the reception.   The library typically purchases two copies of all new books by Boise State authors.   One copy goes in the main collection and circulates, and the second copy is housed in the Special Collections department and does not circulate.  Since these books in the main collection are almost always checked out, it was decided that a physical display of authors’ books for this reception would come from Special Collections.  The display was set up in high-traffic areas of the library a few weeks prior to the reception and then moved to the reception location the day of the event.  The committee also wanted to create a display featuring the latest trends in technology.  Since the library has incorporated many ebooks into its collection, a display using iPads as ebook readers featuring faculty-authored books was also developed for the reception.

Since the UAR committee makes a special point of trying to be inclusive and find ways to honor all faculty and staff authors, a third display was designed to show individual authors honored in the reception and provide information on them.  Given that there were over 300 university authors, the committee needed a display that would go through the authors fairly quickly and cover everyone.  To do this, a PowerPoint presentation was created with a slide for each author that included their picture (when it was available), their department, and a quote from their publication.  Two computer monitors were set up at the reception, one showing half of the author slides and the other showing the rest.  Each slide displayed for ten seconds.  The committee members who created the slides made a special point of selecting quotes that emphasized why the scholarship was important.  Although it took a great deal of work, this personal touch was especially appreciated by attendees.

The committee spared no detail in planning for the reception.  Work with the university’s catering department was done to ensure food and beverages would be at the reception, and university flags representing each college were also reserved to be part of the decorations.  Student musicians from the Music department were requested to play during the reception.  Announcements on the library’s blog and in the university’s online newsletter also appeared to spread the word about the reception.

The day of the reception involved many last-minute preparations before the reception began. Displays, decorations, and tables and chairs were set up.  The reception started at 3:30 and went through 5pm.  The total count of attendees was over 115, one of the highest numbers for the event.  Faculty and staff from different departments on campus were able to visit and learn about each other’s research and scholarship.  Authors watched the author slideshow and enjoyed seeing their own slide.  The ebooks display was also a big hit with many faculty as they were able to view their colleagues’ books using the iPads.  The program during the reception included each College Dean honoring the faculty authors in their department and a group picture of authors from each department was taken.  After the program, many people stayed and continued to visit.

The reception has proved to be very successful in honoring university scholarship.  It is a popular annual university tradition that brings librarians, faculty, and staff together.  Librarians who serve as liaisons to academic departments are able to talk with the faculty from their department and share new resources the library provides.  By hosting the bibliography in an open access format, the library helps increase the discovery of the incredible scholarship produced at Boise State.  From the perspective of the library, the event was an accomplishment in finding another way to serve the university community and honor their accomplishments.

Photograph from the reception courtesy of Jim Duran

Julia Stringfellow is an Archivist/Librarian and Assistant Professor in the Special
Collections Department of the Albertsons Library at Boise State University.

Michelle Armstrong oversees the development of Boise State University’s institutional repository, ScholarWorks, and serves as the Library Liaison for the Graduate College and Department of Mathematics.

Idaho Legislative Committee

by Becca Stroebel Kabasa and Audra Green

The Idaho Library Association Legislative Committee advocates legislatively for Idaho’s libraries.  What exactly does this mean?  Well, along with our legislative advisor, John Watts and other members of the Idaho library community, the committee tracks legislative that might potentially affect Idaho’s libraries.  After tracking that legislation we develop strategies to support the legislation or to oppose its passage.

Another facet of this advocacy is to build relationship with legislators to educate them about the importance of libraries to Idaho communities.  Annually, the Idaho Library Association makes targeted visits to legislators in key positions. This year the delegation consisted of Legislative Co-chairs Audra Green and Becca Stroebel, ILA president Gena Marker, ILA incoming president Karen Yother, and John Watts, legislative advisor (see attached photos).  Meetings this year focused on the purpose of ILA, the importance of the support offered to Idaho’s libraries through the Idaho Commission For Libraries, a demonstration of Learning Express, the importance of school library involvement in Students Come First and the value of Read to Me. We visited with Governor Otter, the chairs of the Education Committee, Senate and House Leadership, the Revenue and Taxation chairs, the Joint Financial Appropriations chairs and staff from the Superintendent of Education’s office. These meetings vary year to hear depending on pertinent issues.

Many ILA members contacted their local legislators about these issues. This grass-roots advocacy is so important and makes a tremendous difference when it comes time to contact legislators about a particular issue. We thank you for all of your participation and support for legislative activities.

This session the Idaho legislature supported a request to provide funding for the Read to Me program, the LiLI-D databases and most of the budget of ICFL.  They did not support funding for Learning Express, which will expire in October. We plan to advocate for this database throughout the rest of the year and hope to bring it back for re-consideration in the 2013 legislative session. We will be counting on ILA members to communication with their legislators about the value of Learning Express to their libraries. In a few weeks, we will be visiting staff from the offices of Idaho’s Federal Representatives.

Although contacting your legislators can seem like a daunting task, the more you do it, the easier it gets.  Throughout the year, the Idaho Library Association Legislative Committee is making contact with legislators as is our legislative advisor John Watts. Along with your input, these contacts help to keep Idaho libraries top of mind for legislators.

Becca Stroebel Kabasa is a Librarian at the Boise Public Library Main Library. Her term as legislative co-chair is 2010-2012

Audra Green is a Librarian at the Collister Library. Her term as legislative co-chair is 2011-2013.