- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 5, 2002


One year after beginning a foundation to buy books for America's libraries, first lady Laura Bush said yesterday she is off to a $5 million start with $50,000 in help from her mother-in-law.

Former first lady Barbara Bush joined the current first lady in the White House East Room for three hours of presentations by librarians, education researchers and school administrators highlighting how good local libraries can improve student performance and test scores.

The elder Mrs. Bush, in her trademark pearls and bright red shoes, left the talking to her daughter-in-law, a former teacher and librarian who called yesterday's White House conference "fulfillment of a dream."

Last summer, she founded The Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries, which has since raised $5 million to stock the shelves of inner-city and rural libraries throughout the country.

Barbara Bush's Texas Fund for Family Literacy contributed $50,000 and earmarked the money for Texas libraries, according to a spokeswoman for the fund.

Other gifts came from Dorothy Yao; Joseph Canizaro; Dr. Dennis O'Leary; Ruth Altshuler; Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Payne; U.S. ambassador to Czech Republic Craig Stapleton and his wife, Debbie, a cousin of President Bush; and hotel chain magnate Bill Marriott, who will serve as chairman of the foundation's leadership council.

Mrs. Bush said the donations will help expand the collections of neglected libraries "from fact and fiction to periodicals and prize-winning books."

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