In 2016, we introduced Together Treasure Valley, an effort that brought area businesses together to do good in our community.
Those companies vowed to find and fund projects that would have a lasting and meaningful impact in our valley. We did so with your input, and we say a big thank you to the many Treasure Valley residents who shared their ideas and visions with us, submitting ideas for what these projects should be through our website. We got many, many more ideas than we could support, but it was uplifting to hear about your passions and projects. And for those ideas we couldn’t fund the first year — from Greenbelt improvements to educational programs and more — please remember: We continue to pick more projects each year! Please continue to submit your ideas and requests through our website.
For our first project, we gave $18,000 to our public libraries. Six libraries, from across the Treasure Valley, each received $3,000 each.
“Our public libraries are a tremendous resource,” says Rebecca Hupp, director of the Boise Airport and a Together Treasure Valley member who championed the support for our libraries. “Through these grants, we are able to help the libraries expand the services they provide to their constituents in the way that makes the most sense based on the needs and resources of each community.”
“Funding these projects is an exciting launch to our Together Treasure Valley projects, said Binna Jensen, Together Treasure Valley project director, in 2016. “The libraries are central to serving so many people, from the very young, to the very old, to those who need assistance or support in other ways. Knowing the positive impact we can have is so inspiring. This is just a start of the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead for Together Treasure Valley!”
Boise Public Library will use the Together Treasure Valley funds to start a pop-up children’s library that can travel to places — perhaps childcare centers, classes or events — to share library materials, theme kits, host activities, teach robotic coding and encourage library card registration. ”The funds will go a long way to helping us deliver pop-up libraries for children who don’t have easy access to library resources,” said Kevin Booe, library director.
Caldwell will use the funds to create “storytime kits.” Each themed kit will include 3-4 books, a DVD, and hands-on activities such as puzzles, puppets, music or games. “By offering books, DVDs, and activities on popular themes in a single, easy to manage package, we anticipate parents and other caregivers will be able to provide storytime at home,” said Fiona May, youth services supervisor for the library. Patrons simply check out a kit and have everything needed for a week of learning on one subject.
The Eagle Public Library will buy items to create their adapted toy collection. Families with children who have special needs often need these special toys that benefit and teach their children. All libraries that are part of the LYNX! Consortium will be able to access these toys for their members. The $3,000 in funds from Together Treasure Valley will be added to $1,500 already pledged by the Eagle Public Library.
Garden City plans to purchase 24 computer monitors that have 24-inch screens — a big improvement from the 17-inch to 19-inch screens their visitors now use to do everything from research to paying their bills. “This investment is going to go a long way in our community, as we serve over 200 computer users every day. In fact, I am hoping the new monitors encourage a few new computer users into our facility. Why hassle with maintaining a desktop computer at home if there is a state of the art facility just down the street?” said Lindsey Pettyjohn, library director.
Meridian Library District would invest in its Summer Reading Program by aiming to get books into the hands of kids who can’t visit the library when school is out. Studies have shown that children who do not read over the summer lose between three to four months of academic progress. This program would mail books directly to the children who need them — often with a letter from their public librarian encouraging them to read. “In 2016 Meridian Library District piloted the program with 65 kids, and parent feedback indicated they spent more time reading together as a result of book mailings,” said Megan Egbert, district programs manager. The Together Treasure Valley funds would expand this program in 2017.
Nampa would augment its collection with an array of books for young Nampa library users. More than 24 percent of children in Nampa live below the poverty line, so access to free materials is essential to promote literacy. Some of the books purchased will help bilingual English- and Spanish-speaking beginning readers. “With these funds, Together Treasure Valley has made it possible for us to expand our beginning readers collection, which focuses on emergent young readers to improve their literacy skills and therefore their future,” said Claire Connley, Nampa Public Library Assistant Director.