First Lady Laura Bush Discusses Post–White House Agenda in Exclusive Interview with American Libraries

Contact: Leonard Kniffel
Editor in Chief, American Libraries
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For Immediate Release,
March 21, 2008

First Lady Laura Bush Discusses Post–White House Agenda in Exclusive Interview with American Libraries

In an exclusive interview at the White House March 19, First Lady Laura Bush told American Libraries magazine that she would definitely play a role in the establishment of her husband’s presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “I'm really looking forward to being actively involved in the building of it,” she said. “I think there will be a very good opportunity for me to continue all the things I've already done around libraries and literacy.” The former librarian and teacher also talked about how her profession influenced her own initiatives and will continue to do so when President George W. Bush’s term ends next January 20.

Asked if her training and experience as a librarian helped prepare her for the role of First Lady, Mrs. Bush replied, “It really did. Both the experience I had of reading to children over and over and over, and storytelling, were really excellent training for giving speeches.” She also observed that economic power is connected to reading and literacy in this country and internationally, particularly with regard to the rights of women to go to school.

Throughout the interview, the First Lady emphasized the importance of advocating for books, reading, and school libraries. “We should really do whatever we can to reach out to people and let them know that there are ways to learn to read,” she said, citing libraries and books as “important to a democracy and so important to our society.”

Asked if she had given any thought to running for public office when her stint as First Lady ends, she stated flatly, “No, I won't be running for public office.” She looks forward instead to returning to Texas and continuing her work through the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries.

Watch an American Libraries Focus videocast of the interview with Laura Bush on the American Libraries website, where a transcript is also available. Editor in Chief Leonard Kniffel conducted the interview in the White House Library. American Libraries is the flagship magazine of the American Library Association and celebrated its centennial in 2007. A retrospective feature about the career of the first librarian ever to be First Lady of the United States is scheduled for the August issue.