Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Announces $200,000 Grant To Fund Eight Family Place Libraries™ Across Harris County

Tribute Gift to be Presented at Grand Re-Opening Ceremony of Barbara Bush Branch Library June 22   

Houston, TX – Today, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation (Foundation) announced a $200,000 donation to the Harris County Public Library in tribute to former First Lady Barbara Bush. The funds, provided in partnership with Phillips 66, will be used to transform areas within eight county libraries into community centers for literacy by creating robust early childhood spaces for families to play and stimulate learning based on a national model, called Family Place Libraries™. The gift comes on the heels of a special request made by former First Lady Barbara Bush just weeks prior to her passing to support the Barbara Bush Branch Library that was devastated by Hurricane Harvey. It also expands upon her vision of literacy for all by making libraries a focal point in communities across our city.

The gift will be presented at the grand re-opening ceremony of the Barbara Bush Branch Library Friday, June 22, which was impacted by Hurricane Harvey. This donation will enable the staff at the Barbara Bush Branch Library and seven other libraries, to receive specialized training and expand programs specifically for toddlers and their parents. In addition, a specially-designed space will feature interactive materials, early literacy kits, games, toys, music and multimedia resources, learning stations, and of course, books.

“Barbara was passionate about family literacy, because she believed that a parent is a child’s first and most important teacher,” said former President George H. W. Bush.  “I hope that families who visit the libraries will be empowered to support their child’s early learning and development and create a special bond by reading together as Barbara had envisioned.”

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for Houstonians of all ages through the power of literacy.  The Foundation previously donated the $250,000 Curiosity Cruiser mobile library to the Harris County Public Library. In addition, the Foundation has been involved with numerous disaster relief efforts since Hurricane Harvey, helping to restore public and home libraries and support education.

“Members of the Spring Community as well as others have been asking us for a Family Place Library™, but we have simply lacked the resources needed to train our staff and purchase the required furniture and supplies,” said Edward Melton, Director of the Harris County Public Library System. “This gift is a wonderful surprise for the community members who utilize the Barbara Bush Branch Library and will dramatically enhance family services at seven additional libraries across the county.”

Phillips 66, who has been a long-standing partner of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, has generously aligned with the Foundation to fund the library transformations.

“We are delighted to honor the legacy of Barbara Bush and pay tribute to her in such a special way,” said Greg Garland, Chairman and CEO of Phillips 66.  “She was a champion for literacy, and we must be sure to uphold her vision and values across Houston and the United States.”

About the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation is a charitable organization formed by Neil and Maria Bush to carry forth First Lady Barbara Bush’s legacy in the literacy cause and to focus deeply on breaking the intergenerational cycle of low literacy in the Bush family’s hometown. Founded on Mrs. Bush’s belief, “If you help a person to read, then their opportunities in life will be endless,” the Barbara Bush Foundation’s mission is to improve lives through the power of literacy – the ability to read, write, speak clearly and think critically. The Foundation serves as the champion across the Greater Houston area for the literacy cause, raising awareness for the value and importance of literacy, mobilizing volunteers and resources to build critical capacity of community-based literacy providers, and investing in local literacy programs and services that support children and families to develop strong literacy skills for success. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook at  on Twitter @bushhoustonlit and on Instagram @bushhoustonlit.