How To Apply

Rebuilding Libraries Affected by 2017 Natural Disasters

After the devastation we have seen from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as the California wildfires, we are going to dedicate our resources to help disaster-affected schools rebuild their book collections.

Applications are currently closed. Please sign up to be updated when applications re-open.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a 2017 Disaster Relief Initiative grant from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries, the applying school must meet the following criteria (also see our FAQs below):

  • Disaster School

    The school must have sustained damage to the library during Hurricane Harvey, Irma or Maria or the California wildfires. This list will be updated as other storms and natural disasters arise in 2017.

  • Dedicated School Library

    The school library must be a uniquely designated space in which books and other materials are systematically classified, arranged by subject, type, etc. and stored in a location and manner that allows access to all students and adults in the school. Not eligible: classrooms or classroom sets of books, collections of books stored in closets, or collections of books on rolling carts of any kind.

  • Staff Librarian

    The day-to-day oversight and operation of the school library must be carried out by a paid librarian, designated by the school administration to be responsible for the collection, care, and use of the materials housed in the library.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which schools are eligible to apply for a 2017 Disaster Relief Initiative grant from the Laura Bush Foundation?

    Schools serving pre-K through 12th grade in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, all U.S. territories, and Department of Defense schools are eligible to apply. This includes all 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. The school must have sustained damage to the library during one of the 2017 hurricanes or the California wildfires.

  2. May more than one school in a district apply?

    Yes. Library grants are awarded to individual schools and not to districts.

  3. How large are the 2017 Disaster Relief Initiative grants from the Laura Bush Foundation?

    School libraries may request grants for the total amount it will cost to replace destroyed or damages materials – past experience suggests a range of $10,000 to $75,000 depending on the total damage and needs.

  4. What is a “library” for purposes of this application?

    A library is a uniquely designated space in which books and other materials are systematically classified and arranged by subject and type. They are stored in a place and manner that allows all students and adults in the school to have access to those books and materials. Applying schools must have or are planning to rebuild a library that meets this definition. Not eligible for application: classroom sets of books, collections of books that are not organized and classified in a systematic way and stored in a room, or collections of books on rolling carts that are moved throughout the school.

  5. What is a “librarian” for purposes of this application?

    For the purposes of the application, a librarian is the paid person designated by the school administration as responsible for the collection, care, and use of the materials housed in the dedicated space of the library. Ideally, this person is a school librarian certified by the state for that status. However, conditions in a given school may result in a teacher, aide, paraprofessional, or other person being assigned the responsibility of managing the school’s library. If this assigned person is not a certified librarian, his/her qualifications must be clearly stated and documented. 

  6. May a school apply if it does not have a certificated librarian?

    Yes. The person responsible for the library does not necessarily have to be a certificated librarian, but the person must be an employee of the school and/or district and meet the definition of “librarian” found above.

  7. Must the application be written by a school employee?

    No, anyone may write an application (i.e. a certificated librarian, administrator, teacher, grant writer, paraprofessional, parent, or volunteer).  However, the application will not be considered unless the school meets the eligibility criteria. The contact information listed in the application must be a school or district employee.

  8. How many grants are awarded?

    The number of grants awarded will depend on the total dollars raised for this special initiative of the Laura Bush Foundation.  The 2017 Disaster Relief grants will be awarded on a rolling basis.

  9. What is a “book” for purposes of this application?

    A “book” is a hardbound print or a Braille volume, an audio-book or an e-book to be added to either the circulating or reference section of the school library collection.  Magazine/serial copies or subscriptions and e-magazine subscriptions may be purchased with grant funds.  Not eligible to be purchased with library grant funds: videos or DVDs, any student/teacher guide to the book (in print or other media), a test/quiz/workbook, exercise book or commentary on the book, any software related to the book, or electronic book readers.

  10. May funds be used to purchase shelving, furniture, equipment, staffing, software, videos, guides, tests or exams, classroom book sets or other library media center items?

    No. Funds from the Laura Bush Foundation may be used only to purchase print or Braille volumes, audio-books, e-books, or magazine/serial/e-magazine subscriptions.

  11. How does an individual school obtain Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL) information?

    This information should be available from the school’s office or the district’s administration office. It can also be searched using the following website: National Center for Education Statistics.

  12. Will the Laura Bush Foundation help with ascertaining a school’s Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL) percentages?

    No, this information should be readily available from the principal or school district.  If not, consult the following website:

  13. Is a Laura Bush Foundation Grant considered a federal grant?

    No. The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is a restricted fund of the George W. Bush Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. It is supported by charitable contributions.

  14. Are schools that have previously been awarded a Laura Bush Foundation grant eligible to apply again?

    Yes. This year we are giving special grants to schools that have been damaged or destroyed by the recent hurricanes and natural disasters. Schools that previously received grants are encouraged to apply if they meet the requirements.

  15. The county library serves as the school library. Is the school eligible to apply?

    Yes. However, it must be clearly documented that the county library is the sole library for the school, how the school and the library coordinate and support school programs and curriculum, and how access to the materials by the students is facilitated and guaranteed.

  16. May a library project for public housing residents apply?

    No. The Laura Bush Foundation focuses grants on school libraries only.

  17. May internal alternative learning academies, which are not stand-alone schools, apply?

    They may not apply if the school in which they are embedded has a school library. If the school does not have a library, they are eligible to apply if there is a facility and operation that meets the definition of a library and the job function of the person managing that library meets the definition of a librarian found elsewhere in the Frequently Asked Questions.

  18. May a library submit more than one application if it serves more than one constituency? For example, if the library serves both a middle school and a high school?

    No. Each school library, regardless of the variety of constituents it serves, is limited to one application per year.

  19. May processing costs be included as part of the requested amount?

    All grant dollars are to be spent only for books, e-books, or magazines/serials/e-magazines.

  20. May Accelerated Reader tests, other AR materials, or similar materials for other reading support programs be purchased with grant funds?

    No. All grant dollars are to be spent for books, e-books or magazines/serials/e-magazines in print, Braille or audio form. The definition of a “book” is provided in the Frequently Asked Questions. Grant funds are not to be used for the purchase of quizzes, tests, study guides, teacher guides, commentaries on a book, e-book readers, or any kind of hardware/software. 

  21. May the funds be used to purchase DVD movie versions of books? (i.e. Romeo and Juliet, Lord of the Rings, Frankenstein, Lonesome Dove, The Wizard of Oz, etc?)

    No, funds from the Laura Bush Foundation may be used only to purchase print or Braille volumes, audio-books, e-books, magazines/serials/e-magazines. Please see the definition of a “book” provided in the Frequently Asked Questions.

  22. Who must approve the school’s application to the Laura Bush Foundation? Can I print a copy of the application before final submission?

    Permission to apply must be determined by the applicant submitting the application. Each applicant has the responsibility to determine any pertinent grant application policies or regulations the district office or other governing body may have. The Laura Bush Foundation focuses on the individual school and does not require that the district, the county, the state, or any other agency approve any application. However, the school principal or equivalent (e.g., headmaster) must approve the application and the terms attached to any grants made.  This is described in the final section of the application form.  You may print the application before final submission, if you require district or other grant approval before final submission online. 

  23. May the principal’s approval/certification be included after the application is submitted?

    No, approval from the principal must be included in the grant application at the time of submission.  

  24. May applications be submitted via email, mail or fax?

    No, all applications must be submitted via the on-line application form.  

  25. May an application be sent from a home computer or must it be sent from a school computer?

    An application may be submitted using any computer connected to the internet. Application may be accessed in any web browser.

  26. How are words and characters counted in response boxes?

    The application counts words only.  Answers are limited to the number of words indicated in certain boxes.

  27. Why is there an error message that information is missing?

    All questions with a * must have a response or you will not be allowed to submit the application.  There may be boxes where you can submit N/A or None as an answer if the question does not apply to your school library.  

  28. Can a draft/pending application be saved and submitted at a later date?

    Yes, you have the option to save your pending application once an account is created.  Only complete applications will be considered.

  29. What is the grant report and when is it due?

    The Laura Bush Foundation collects information on how its funds are spent and on the impact that the purchased books or magazines have on a given school’s students. The goal is to gather information that will help us improve our efforts. To accomplish this, all recipients are required to complete a grant report form provided at the end of the school year.

    • Sample Questions include:
      • Describe the need these grant funds have addressed and the impact it has had on your library, your school and your students. 
      • Provide information on how funds from the library grant were expended.