The Tamaqua Blue Raider Foundation has announced its first donation to benefit the students of the Tamaqua Area School District.

The foundation has decided that it will purchase nine iPads for use in the Tamaqua Area High School library, at a total cost of $4,770.

Founded in November, 2009, The Blue Raider Foundation, Inc., was established as a non-profit, tax exempt corporation under IRS 501(c)3. According to the foundation's mission statement, its objective is to assist Tamaqua Area in funding projects that are outside the school district's budget.

"Acting autonomously, the foundation will enlist individuals, corporations and foundations in charitable resource raising activities to assist our students in achieving our maximum potential," reads the mission statement.

Tamaqua Area Superintendent Carol Makuta announced the foundation's donation at the district's board of education meeting this week.

"We did some investigating and we feel this is the best, most effective way to use our money for now," said Jeffrey Bowe, treasurer of the foundation. "Hopefully, this will be the first of many purchases."

The iPad, from Apple, is a portable computerized notebook-sized device that has thousands of applications, many educationally-related, explained Ken Dunkelberger, the district's technology director. The iPad costs $530 per unit.

One of those applications is as a Kindle, the virtual book popularized by Amazon. "We will be able to download books on the iPad through the Kindle application," said Melissa Day, the high school's library media specialist.

The Tamaqua High library already has three iPads, and the additional nine will bring the total to 12.

Sophomore Emily Demyanovich got the chance to use the iPad to read the historical fiction novel "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory.

The iPad will allow more than one student at a time to read the same novel if desired, without the library having to order extra books.

The Raider Foundation is continuing with its mission of support for the district and will hold its annual meeting and cocktail party on Feb. 19, 2011 at the Restaurant at the Station, Tamaqua, said Walter Kruczek, foundation vice president.