Laura Welch Bush
November 4, 1946, in Midland, Texas
Laura and former President George Bush live in Texas.
Laura Bush has served as first lady throughout her husband’s (George Bush) two terms in office in the years 2001-2009. Laura was 54 years old when she became first lady.
Laura’s love of books and reading prompted her to seek careers in teaching and librarianship. When she became first lady, she was provided the opportunity to promote her passion on both the national and international levels. As a literacy advocate she has not only visited classrooms to speak and read to children, just as her mother-in-law First Lady Barbara Bush had done, but also hosted conferences about libraries at the White House. Prior to her years in the White House, she founded the Texas Book Festival, which raised money for state libraries, and as first lady, she established the National Book Festival in conjunction with the Library of Congress. Furthermore, Laura devotes time to her literacy work on the international stage by serving as the Honorary Ambassador for the United Nations Literacy Decade, which enables her to promote the organization’s efforts to educate people throughout the world, especially women and girls. Laura’s educational concerns are not limited to literacy, however. She also serves as the leader of the president’s Helping America’s Youth initiative, which advances programs that help children avoid risky behaviors like drug and alcohol use, as well as teacher recruitment programs like Teach for America. In addition, Laura’s love of the outdoors inspired her to help found Preserve America, a national initiative dedicated to protecting our cultural and natural heritage through preservation and community volunteerism.
Regarding the position as first lady, Laura observed, “The role of first lady is whatever the first lady wants it to be.”
About her love of books, Laura noted, “When I was a child, one of my most prized possessions was my library card. That card was my passport to visit a little house on the prairie, sail across the ocean on a whaling ship, or travel back in time.”