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News from 2021-2022

Posted: May 19, 2022

Five APS Schools Receive Library Grants from Laura Bush Foundation

The $5,000 grant can be used to update and diversify library collections.

Comanche librarian Beth Bunzel

Comanche librarian Beth Bunzel

Comanche, Lowell, Mitchell, and Zuni elementary schools and Del Norte High School were among 300 schools from 44 states across the country to receive a $5,000 grant through the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries. This year, the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries awarded $1.5 million in library grants this year. 

"I am thrilled that children from 300 schools will soon have access to an updated library collection," Mrs. Laura Bush said. "Students across the country turn to books to discover the world around them, and we know that opening a new book opens the door to new opportunities and learning."

The Albuquerque Public Schools Education Foundation encouraged school librarians to apply for the library grant after receiving several applications this past year for buying diverse books to help students develop a love of reading.

"Library books can translate into success in the classroom, at home, and beyond," said Shannon Barnhill, the APS Education Foundation's executive director.

"Most people forget how important a library is in today's digital world, but our librarian, Beth Bunzel, knows how valuable our library resources are to our students," said Comanche Principal Cheryl Wheeler. "We couldn't be more proud or excited about this grant."

Ms. Bunzel asked her students what they would love to read, and with this feedback, she will be purchasing graphic novels that will provide a high level of pictorial support, making them accessible to struggling readers. 

For Zuni's library, school librarian Angela Main will purchase fiction and nonfiction books by Indigenous authors to reflect their cultures and experiences, to include fiction and nonfiction books for all their students. 

School librarian Heather Willingham plans to update Mitchell's library. "Our library needs a curated collection responsive to the students it serves," she said. "It needs to be updated with current, high-interest and quality books that help them make sense of their world. Students must see their unique backgrounds and experiences authentically represented. They also need opportunities to grapple with perspectives that are different from their own and to have the chance to explore new worlds and ideas through both fiction and nonfiction texts."

When announcing the grant recipients, the former First Lady revealed her 2022 summer reading list, which includes recommendations for young readers through middle schoolers. Selections feature books on adventure, humor, and discovery.

"The books on this year's summer reading list were selected to encourage children to keep reading over their summer break," said Mrs. Bush. "Local libraries are a wonderful resource for our communities, and I hope children and parents will visit their local library to borrow each of the featured titles."

One of the 2022 Summer Reading List books was written by Giovanna McBride, the daughter of Mrs. Bush's former chief of staff, Anita McBride. Gigi at the White House was published by The White House Historical Association and follows a young Giovanna as she tours the White House. Inspired by the Laura Bush Foundation, Anita McBride and her husband Tim McBride have donated copies of Gigi at the White House! to every elementary school that has received a grant since 2002.

Grant applications for the 2022-2023 school year will open in late 2022. Visit to learn more. Schools must first submit a pre-approval concept form to apply so the district is ready to approve and support their initiative.   

The Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries supports school libraries with the greatest needs with the goal of encouraging all students to develop a love of reading and learning. Since its inception in 2002, it has awarded more than $19.5 million to more than 3,300 schools across the country.  

The George W. Bush Institute's Education and Opportunity work, which houses the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries, is generously supported by The Allstate Foundation. The Laura Bush Foundation is managed as a restricted fund at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. More information can be found at The Laura Bush Foundation is managed as a restricted fund at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. More information can be found at

George W. Bush Institute

The George W. Bush Institute is a solution-oriented nonpartisan policy organization focused on ensuring opportunity for all, strengthening democracy, and advancing free societies. Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the Bush Institute is rooted in compassionate conservative values and committed to creating positive, meaningful, and lasting change at home and abroad. We utilize our unique platform and convening power to advance solutions to national and global issues of the day by influencing policy, not politics. Learn more at

Tags: Core Schools