How To Apply

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      Check the requirements list below to see if your school is eligible.

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      Applications are currently closed, but will reopen in the fall of 2016.

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Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Established School

    The school must be in operation for a minimum of one (1) year prior to submitting an application.

  • Economic Need

    During time of application, at least 85% of the school’s student population must qualify for Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL). This information should be available from the school or district’s administration. It is also available at the following website.

  • Existing 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. This does not include: 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.

  • First Time Recipient

    The school must be a first-time recipient of a library grant from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. All previous award winners are ineligible to apply.

    This does not apply to schools that received a special grant as part of our “Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative.”

    Explore our interactive map or search to see if your school has received a grant award in the past.

Scoring

Applications are scored based on the following:

  • Alignment with our mission
  • Description of need
  • Library budget
  • Evidence of focus on students, professional support, and collaboration

Download a full scoring rubric.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

    A “book” is a hardbound print or a Braille volume, an audio-book on audio-tape or CD-ROM, or an e-book to be added to either the circulating or reference section of the school library collection.  Magazine/serial copies or subscriptions may be purchased with grant funds.  This does not include: video tapes 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.

  2. How large are the grants from the Laura Bush Foundation?

    School libraries may request grants up to $7,000.

  3. Is there a timeframe for spending funds awarded?

    Yes. The funds must be spent within the school year following the year in which the grant was given.

  4. 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.

  5. What schools are eligible to apply for a grant from the Laura Bush Foundation?

    Schools serving pre-K through 12th grade in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, all American territories, and Department of Defense schools in other countries are eligible to apply. This includes all public, private, parochial, charter, 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.

  6. How many grants are awarded?

    The number of grants awarded is a function of the amount of money available from the endowment and the size of the grants.  There were 538 applications submitted by the December 2014 deadline, and 131 grants were awarded in May 2015.

  7. What is the evaluation program mentioned in the application?

    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.

  8. Why does the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries target only schools with a very high percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch?

    We understand that most schools need money for books and that school and library budgets are often inadequate. Because funds are limited, and research shows that children in low income families are least likely to have access to books, the Laura Bush Foundation targets the nation's neediest schools and students for grants. In order to establish need, the Foundation uses the widely known and reported "Free and Reduced Lunch" (FRL) percentage as its criterion for establishing need. Schools with an FRL percentage of 85% or higher are eligible to apply.

  9. Schools are required to report verifiable information on the percentage of students receiving Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL). How does an individual school obtain that 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

  10. 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 a library that meets this definition.  This does not include: 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 cards that are moved throughout the school.

  11. 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.  To apply for a grant, schools must have an employee assigned specific responsibility for the library.  It is preferred that this person be responsible for filling out and submitting a grant application.

  12. May a school apply if it has no library?

    No. A school must have a library and personnel responsible for the library as defined elsewhere in the Frequently Asked Questions. In addition, a school must have been in operation for a minimum of one year prior to the application being submitted so that reliable Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL) information can be provided.

  13. 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 elsewhere in the Frequently Asked Questions.

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

    No. Schools who have received a library grant from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries in a previous year are ineligible to apply*. View a list of previous winners
    *This does not apply to schools that received a special grant as part of our “Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative.”

  15. Should an application include tables, charts, or other information in attachments?

    No, all relevant information should be entered into the form provided. Attachments or additional information cannot be considered. All required questions must be answered before submitting, and incomplete applications will not be considered. 

  16. How specific should the application be in describing the books and materials to be purchased?

    Describe the types or categories of books and materials that will be purchased to develop a particular area of the collection and how they will support an identified program or critical need.  Outline your planned purchases and proposed allocation of grant money for these books and materials.  Please do not list specific titles.

  17. How specific should the application be in providing budget information?

    Please submit verifiable responses to each item on the application form that requests budget/spending information. Refer to the definition of a “book” provided in the Frequently Asked Questions.  

  18. When asked for budget figures, should all sources (i.e. Title VI, other grants, donations, proceeds from book fairs, etc.) be included?

    Yes.  The application should show how many dollars have been allocated and are expected to be spent during the current year from the sources indicated on books/magazines/e-books.

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

    Yes. Library grants are awarded to individual schools and not to districts. All schools with a verifiable Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) percentage of 85% or higher, are eligible to apply.

  20. May homeschoolers apply?

    No. Please see the definitions of "library" and "librarian," as well as eligible schools elsewhere in the Frequently Asked Questions.

  21. 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.

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

    No. At present, the Laura Bush Foundation focuses grants on school libraries only.

  23. May public and/or rural libraries apply?

    No. At present, the Laura Bush Foundation grants focus on school libraries only. The exception is if the county/city library serves as the sole library for the school.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. What is meant by “library book budget”? Does that include the entire library budget? Does it include the textbook budget?

    The “library book budget” refers to the number of dollars spent on books/magazines/e-books, from all sources, for the school library collection. It does not include classroom textbooks, classroom sets, personnel or operating costs.  Information is requested with differentiation between funds from the school or district and other available funds. All funds are used in the per pupil calculation.

  27. Will bold, bullets, underlines, and other formatting translate from a word processing program to the on-line application form?

    It is recommended that you keep the formatting simple.  Please do not use bold, bullets, quotation marks, or underlines. 

  28. Is there a way to add or change information after the application is submitted?

    No, the submission is final. Duplicate submissions will not be considered. If multiple applications are received from the same school, only the first submission will be considered.

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

    All grant dollars are to be spent for books, e-books, or magazines/serials. It is permissible to purchase pre-processed books with the grant, and the price should be reflected in the unit price. Funds from the Laura Bush Foundation may not be used to pay for separate processing, for any processing service, or for salaries or stipends for individuals processing books in the school system.

  30. 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 in print, Braille or audio form. The definition of a “book” is provided in these 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.  

  31. May the funds be used to purchase DVD movie versions of books? (i.e. Gone with the Wind, 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. Please see the definition of a “book” provided in the Frequently Asked Questions.

  32. May funds be used to purchase CD-ROMs to accompany books (ESOL)?

    Funds from the Laura Bush Foundation may be used only to purchase books or magazines/serials in print, Braille, or audio form.  A CD-ROM may be purchased if it delivers the book in spoken form.  We do not fund quizzes, tests, study/teacher guides, commentaries on books, e-book readers, or any other kind of hardware/software.  

  33. 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 subscriptions.

  34. Who must approve the school’s application to the Laura Bush Foundation?

    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.

  35. 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.  

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

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

  37. May changes be made once the application is submitted?

    No, an application is final once it has been submitted.

  38. 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.

  39. 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 of having a “library” and a “librarian” as defined elsewhere in the Frequently Asked Questions. The application must also be approved by the school principal or equivalent (e.g., headmaster) via electronic signature. Note: preference is given to applications written and overseen by the school librarian.

  40. May applications be submitted after the published deadline?

    No, submissions will not be accepted after the published deadline: Monday, December 14 at midnight CST.

  41. Must Internet Explorer be used to submit the application or will other web browsers work as well?

    Internet Explorer is not required - all major browsers should work to fill out the application.

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

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

  43. Will bold, bullets, underlines, italics, and other formatting translate from a word processing program to the on-line application form?

    Please keep the formatting simple.  Do not use bold, bullets, quotation marks, italics, or underlines. Sophisticated formatting probably will be lost in transmission and may interfere with other written characters.  

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

    All required questions indicated with an asterisk must be answered.

  45. 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: http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/schoolsearch/

  46. 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.