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Charleston County schools receive support from Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries

Laura Bush FoundationJane Edwards Elementary School and Murray LaSaine Montessori School were named as one of  205  schools from  43  states across the country to receive a grant through the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. Both schools received $5,000.

Laura Bush joined Kelly Clarkson on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” to announce that the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries awarded more than $1 million in library grants this year. 

The grant recipients’ school library collections are outdated, averaging approximately 20 years old. The school libraries will use the funds to update their collection and offer more book titles. 

“There are many students who don’t have books at home, so having access to a library at school is essential,” Bush said. “With the grants, school libraries across the nation can restock and update their collections providing opportunities for students for years to come.

Murray LaSaine teacher-librarian Elizabeth Ryan said the money will be used to update the fiction collection, replaced worn copies, and update book topics to reflect the school’s diverse student population and community.

“We will focus on providing stories that teach acceptance and that celebrate our differences,” said Ryan. “We will be sure to include global views and traditions in the books we acquire. This will include updated fairy tales that depict accurate representations. We will add more books so students will know they are seen, accepted, and supported.”

Grant money for Jane Edwards will be spent on similar updates to the school’s library collection. Teacher-librarian Stephanie Smith said that areas of need include books for early readers, books that showcase the arts, and books that represent people and characters who are typically underrepresented in both nonfiction and literature.  

“These under-representations include, but are not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental disabilities, social class, and spiritual practices,” said Smith. “Sadly, these weaknesses in our library collection trickle down and create gaps in our students' learning. With the stress of COVID-19, our students are having to learn how to cope in a way many of them have never had to before. Books can help them with that.”  

Bush also revealed her 2021 summer reading list, which includes recommendations for young readers through middle school. Selections highlight books focused on diversity, inclusion and kindness; and the list features a title by the late Beverly Cleary. “The summer reading list is a great resource for parents and caregivers,” Bush said. “As libraries open back up all over our country, I hope children will take the list to their local library and borrow each of the featured titles. It is so important that all kids keep reading over summer break. Grant applications for the 2021-2022 school year will open in late 2021. Visit www.bushcenter.org to learn more.  

To learn more, about the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries visit www.BushCenter.org. For more information on these grants and CCSD schools that have previously been award the grant, contact the Division of Strategy and Communication at (843) 937-6603.