U.S. First Lady Laura Bush announced Wednesday that her foundation is awarding some 1.3 million U.S. dollars to help 263 school libraries update their book collections this year.
Accompanied by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city's education Chancellor Joel Klein, the former school librarian made the announcement at The Island School in Lower East Manhattan.
"Great books provide students with knowledge and encourage creativity," said Mrs Bush. "These grants will help stock libraries with new and exciting books that will challenge and inspire young people."
More than 129,800 students will benefit from new books in their school as a result of this year's grants from the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries.
The 2007 awardees include 234 public schools, 11 charter schools, 14 private schools and four alternative schools. Grants were made in 48 states plus the District of Columbia.
In addition, an award was made to Spangdahlem Elementary School, a school serving 463 children of military personnel at Spangdahlem Air Force Base in Germany, for books for their school library.
The Laura Bush Foundation was launched in 2002 as a fund of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. Since its inception, the Laura Bush Foundation has awarded more than 4.3 million dollars to 897 schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The foundation's grants come from donations from other foundations, companies, and individuals.