FRUITLAND — Representatives of the Idaho Lottery dropped in on Fruitland Elementary School students and staff Monday morning to present an early Christmas gift to the school’s library: A check for $3,000. The check was presented in the library in a small ceremony, attended by Fruitland School District Superintendent Lyle Bayley and school Principal Jared Olsen.

“Mrs. [Librarian Carrie] Hollaway is fabulous at looking for scholarships, or things that are available for our library, so that she can get more books for our students,” said Olsen in an interview prior to the ceremony. “She found this opportunity, and wrote the grant by herself, talked to our library teacher for the district and had her look through it and then we submitted it.”

Representing the lottery was spokesman David Workman. He said programs such as Bucks for Books is what the lottery is all about.

“Bucks for Books is a program that was created  through a conversation that our director had with the director of the Idaho Commission for Libraries,” said Workman. “It’s aimed at improving early education literacy and we cooperatively work with them every single year to award funds to schools across the entire state of Idaho, for book acquisition.”

Workman said Fruitland Elementary’s demographics and the area’s continued growth stood out to lottery officials.

“It’s a school in a growing part of the state, as well, that’s meeting with some unique challenges. We want to be able to help those schools.”

In addition to getting cash to buy books, lottery officials gave Hollaway a head start with a selection of donated books. 

Hollaway said she submitted her application for Bucks for Books at the last minute. According to her, the library sees anywhere from 500 to 1,400 books being checked out daily.

“The more variety I have, the more I can try to help those that need that different type of interest in reading,” is what she aims to accomplish with this grant. “My own kids, I couldn’t get them excited about books, until we finally figured out what genre, what niche they liked. Once they found that, then they took off, and I see that happen with our students, too. Just watching them when we get new books, they’re so excited to get the new books. That just makes it worth it.”

Now in her ninth year with Fruitland Elementary, Hollaway said she became a librarian to fulfill her love of reading.

“I’ve always loved to read, and just watching the kids get excited over books makes my day,” said Hollaway. “I started volunteering before I started working here in the library, with my daughter’s class when she was in the third grade … The librarian before me, she always made it fun and inviting, and the kids loved it. I’m just trying to follow in that.”

Bucks for Books partners with the Idaho Commission for Libraries and Noteworthy is that Payette Primary School was a Bucks for Books recipient in December 2019. The Idaho Lottery began operations in 1989.

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