Welcome to the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries!

The love of books – holding a book, turning its pages, looking at the pictures, hearing stories read out loud – is key to developing a child’s love for learning. Not every child has access to a well-stocked school library. As First Lady, I visited schools and libraries across our country where I noticed that many school libraries had empty shelves, and their collections and reference books were terribly out of date. That is why I established the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries.

The Laura Bush Foundation provides funds to school libraries to add to and update their book and media collections. Through the Laura Bush Foundation I am dedicated to supporting programs that encourage reading and learning and that promote America’s libraries.

We can ensure our children's happy learning experiences by providing plenty of library books for reading in class and at home.

Laura W. Bush

Our Mission

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.


Mrs. Bush listens to a child's reaction to her reading of Book, Book, Book during a visit to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library in Chattanooga, Tenn., June 20, 2003. White House photo by Susan Sterner.

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, where she pursues her work on global healthcare innovations and empowering women in emerging democracies through the George W. Bush Institute.  She serves as the Chair for the Bush Institute’s Global Women’s Initiatives, guiding the Institute’s programs to advance economic opportunity, good health and human freedom for women and girls.

    Mrs. Laura Bush speaking at a book festival
    During her time as First Lady, Mrs. Bush founded the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

    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. Since 2003, she has served as the Honorary Ambassador for the United Nations Literacy Decade. Laura Bush visited schools 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.

    Photo by David Rubin Photography

    Mrs. Bush is the author of the bestselling memoir, Spoken From the Heart. 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, and the Board of Trustees for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

    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 and Jenna, son-in-law, Henry Hager, and proud grandparents of granddaughters Margaret Laura “Mila” and Poppy Louise Hager. The Bush family also includes two cats, Bob and Bernadette.

  • Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries Advisory Committee

    The Advisory Committee is comprised of experts in the fields of children’s literature, reading, and education. This group volunteers their time to help formulate policies, determine funding guidelines, and oversee the grants distribution process for the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries.


    • Pamela Willeford (Chair) Austin, TX

    • Marla McGhee Fort Worth, TX

    • José Aponte San Diego, CA

    • Julie Nix Hot Springs, AR

    • Gary Hartzell Manhattan Beach, CA

    • Beth Patin Seattle, WA

    • Larry Leverett Montclair, NJ

    • Daniella Smith Denton, TX

    • Suson Luckman Edgewood, WA

    • Tim Wadham Pullayup, WA

    • John Mackiel Omaha, NE

    • Junko Yokota Evanston, IL

    • Ann Martin North Chesterfield, VA

    • Marco Zannier Houston, TX

    • Barbara Martin The Villages, FL

    • Kay McBride Kingwood, TX

  • 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.