AUSTIN, TX — Former first lady Laura Bush visited Blackshear Elementary Fine Arts Academy in Austin, Texas recently, to announce the 2015 library grants from The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. More than $875,000 is being distributed to 131 school libraries across the country. This includes the eight middle schools that each received a $7,000 library grant last October, as a part of the George W. Bush Institute’s Middle School Matters program.

Mrs. Bush toured the school and visited a first grade classroom, where students were learning reading comprehension by acting out their favorite books. Afterwards, she spoke about the importance of reading, and encouraged students to fall in love with a book this summer.

“No matter what you want to be when you grow up – a doctor or a lawyer, a Senator, an artist, or a teacher, reading will help you reach your goal…By providing more schools with better reading materials, the Laura Bush Foundation helps students understand more of the world around them, and its limitless possibilities,” said Mrs. Laura Bush.

The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries provides grants up to $7,000 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. Since its inception in 2002, it has awarded over $12.5 million to almost 2,500 schools across the country. In addition to the annual grants, the “Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative” in 2006 provided more than $6.3 million to school libraries affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita so that they could rebuild book collections lost or destroyed in the storms.

In 2014, The Laura Bush Foundation transitioned from the Communities Foundation for the National Capital Region in Washington, D.C. to the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, where it is managed as a restricted fund. More information can be found at the newly launched www.laurabushfoundation.org.

Calhoun County High School Media Center is one of six schools in South Carolina to be awarded a Laura Bush Foundation Grant this year. Grant funds will be used to expand the collection and upgrade the ebook selections to create an enhanced reading experience for challenged readers and to provide current selections for the most accomplished readers.

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