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Laura Bush's Library Legacy

by Sherie Sanders on August 14, 2017
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library-book-return-in-article-about-Laura-Bush-library-grantsFirst ladies advocate for causes that matter to them, often long after they leave the White House. A former school teacher and librarian, Laura Bush's priorities are reading and literacy. The following two grants are inspired by her passion: the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and a grant from her own foundation that encourages school children to develop a genuine love of learning.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is a federal agency that provides funding for our country's 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. As libraries redefine themselves in the age of the internet, the IMLS makes grants, research, and policy development resources available to help them in their mission to foster the lifelong education so critical to contemporary citizens in modern societies. It should be noted that the IMLS is one of the agencies scheduled for elimination in the current budget proposal.


Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program

Named after Laura Bush to honor of her commitment to education, this federal program supports the advancement of library professionals from the recruitment of a diverse workforce in library and information science, to professional development and post graduate education.  Funds are available for the following projects:
  • Planning Grants
  • National Forum Grants
  • Project Grants
  • Research Grants

Projects must also address one of the following categories:

  • Community Anchors - increasing a library's capacity to provide training and educational opportunities to the community;
  • National Digital Platform - increasing a library's capacity to utilize open source software applications;
  • Curation Collections - increasing a library's capacity to create, manage, and provide access to nationwide digital library collections.

Applying for the IMLS Program

Eligible applicants are libraries or parent organizations such as school districts, municipalities, state agencies, or academic institutions, digital libraries that provide public library services, library consortia, and library associations. Mandatory pre-proposals are due on September 1, 2017. Before submitting the pre-proposal, applicants are encouraged to contact the program staff to discuss the proposal structure and the review process.Archived recordings of informational webinars are available.

The Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program mentioned above is federally supported. For those looking for alternate funding sources in light of federal budget uncertainty, it is worth mentioning that Laura Bush established her own nonprofit foundation to help encourage the love of reading and learning by helping school libraries expand their collections. It serves schools in which at least 85% of the student populations qualify for free or reduced lunch. Although specific deadlines are not yet available, the application period is expected to open in Fall 2017 and close in Winter 2017. Refer to the website to check your eligibility.


First Ladies and Their Causes

Are you a history buff? It is easy to identify Lets Move with Michelle Obama or Just Say No with Nancy Reagan. Here is a challenge for true political devotees to see how well they know other causes championed by first ladies. Match the name at the top with the cause below:

The First Lady

Betty Ford                                                                    Lucy Web Hayes              

Dolley Madison                                                          Lady Bird Johnson

Eleanor Roosevelt                                                     Lou Henry Hoover          


Her Cause

a.  Female education

b.  Girl Scouts

c. Orphans

d. Ending segregation, expanding human rights

e. Neighborhood and highway beautification

f. Reducing the stigma surrounding alcoholism



a. Lucy Webb Hayes, b. Lou Henry Hoover c. Dolley Madison d. Eleanor Roosevelt e. Lady Bird Johnson f. Betty Ford

Topics: Funding News

3 min read time