SANDPOINT — The East Bonner County Library District and the Bonner County Juvenile Detention Center might seem like unlikely collaborative partners, but they have been united by a $10,000 Wal-Mart Foundation Grant.
In November 2008, the Wal-Mart foundation provided $100,000 in one-time funds to support “Strengthening Library Services for Youth in Idaho.”
Wal-Mart partnered with the Idaho Library Association and the Idaho Commission for Libraries to promote the grant opportunity and to select the winning proposals. The grant concept was designed to inspire innovative ways to provide or improve library services and resources for youth and their families. Fifty-three proposals were submitted to the ICFL and 14 projects were selected for funding.
The East Bonner County Library District received a grant for $10,000 that will fund new library resources for the Bonner County Juvenile Detention Center.
“Right now the Detention Center has just two bookshelves of old and out-dated books that do not inspire kids to read,” said Lori Stone, a teacher at the Juvenile Detention Center.
Stone said the biggest challenge is the diversity of the population at the detention center.
Some youth are as young as 10 and others are almost 18 years old, she added. Some youth are non-readers, some are reluctant readers and some older teens are reading at the college level.
The grant-funded resources will provide popular teen and young adult fiction to motivate reluctant readers and will also provide books on tape and books on CD for non-readers.
Students will also get a new set of encyclopedias and other resources to assist with school work assignments, as well as books about career opportunities.
A small amount of the grant funds have been dedicated to providing an outreach component to the project. Lori Stone said some outreach ideas include writing workshops, spoken word workshops and motivational visits with local people who have a skill, passion or talent to share with youth.
The idea for the collaborative project came from Suzanne Davis, the Youth Services Librarian at the Sandpoint Library branch.
Davis said one of her personal priorities is to help youth help themselves to break out of the cycle of poverty.
Education is a critical component to improving one’s life and one’s prospects for a brighter future, Davis added.