The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries provides funds to our Nation’s neediest schools so that they can extend, update, and diversify the book and print collections in their libraries with the goal of encouraging students to develop a love of reading and learning.
Our mission is focused on schools serving pre-K through 12th grade in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, all U.S. territories, and Department of Defense schools. This includes all public, public charter, private, parochial, city, state, county, and reservation schools, including: special schools, social services schools, and juvenile detention center schools in any of those jurisdictions that serve any combination of pre-kindergarten through high school students.
Studies have shown that the quality of a school library has a major impact on reading test scores and academic success of children. All of the elements for a good library are needed to positively affect academic achievement, such as adequate staffing, technology, and the quality of the print collection, including the date and quantity of the books.
Mrs. Bush, a former teacher and librarian, has long championed the importance of reading as the foundation of all learning. Founded in her name in 2002, the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries helps students in our nation’s neediest schools by awarding grants to school libraries in an effort to improve student achievement.
The Laura Bush Foundation began as a fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region in Washington, D.C. It transitioned to Dallas, Texas in 2014, and is managed as a restricted fund of the George W. Bush Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.
Mrs. Laura Bush, Founder
Laura Bush, former First Lady of the United States, is an advocate for literacy, education and women’s rights. After leaving the White House, President and Mrs. Bush founded the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. The Bush Center is home to the Bush Presidential Museum and Library and the George W. Bush Institute, a public policy center established to solve today’s most pressing challenges by developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action. As Chair of the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative, Mrs. Bush promotes access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity for women and girls around the world.
As First Lady, Mrs. Bush advocated the importance of literacy and education to advance opportunity for America’s young people and to foster healthy families and communities. She highlighted the importance of preparing children to become lifelong learners, convening in 2001, a White House Summit on Early Childhood Cognitive Development and in 2002, a White House Conference on School Libraries. Laura Bush has visited schools around the world and met with students in nations from Afghanistan to Zambia, with a particular focus on the education of girls and women. Mrs. Bush worked with the Library of Congress to create the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. in 2001. The National Book Festival continues to this day and annually attracts more than 120,000 Americans. The Texas Book Festival in Austin was founded in 1996 by Mrs. Bush while she was First Lady of Texas. At the Bush Institute in Dallas, President and Mrs. Bush’s Education Reform initiative works to improve student achievement through effective school leadership, middle school transformation, and the use of accountability.
Mrs. Bush is the author of the bestselling memoir, Spoken From the Heart, and bestselling children’s book, Our Great Big Backyard. She serves on many boards, including the National Advisory Board for the Salvation Army, the Council for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Board of Trustees for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the SMU Board of Trustees.
Laura Bush was born in Midland, Texas, to Harold and Jenna Welch. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Texas. She taught in public schools in Dallas, Houston and Austin and worked as a public school librarian. She served as First Lady of Texas from 1995 to 2000.
President and Mrs. Bush are the parents of twin daughters: Barbara, married to Craig Coyne, and Jenna, married to Henry Hager. The Bushes are also the proud grandparents of Margaret Laura “Mila,” Poppy Louise, and Hal Hager. The Bush family also includes two cats, Bob and Bernadette, as well as Freddy the dog.
George W. Bush Presidential Center
The George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas manages the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries as a restricted fund. This includes, among other things, receiving and acknowledging monetary gifts, communicating with grant applicants and recipients, and distributing awards. The Board of Directors for the Bush Center has fiduciary responsibility for the Laura Bush Foundation, including investments, audits, and annual reports.