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St. Croix School Libraries Get $525,000 Worth of Laura Bush Grants For Disaster Relief

EMPTY SHELVES: The Alfredo Andrews Elementary School library in Estate Kingshill with no books. TOP PHOTO: Is John H. Woodson Junior High School’s library without books.

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CHRISTIANSTED — Ten St. Croix school libraries received grants totaling $525,000.00 from the second round of 2017 Disaster Relief Initiative grants given by the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries today.

Grants totaling more than $1.3 million were distributed to 38 school libraries from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas, California, and Florida that were damaged in natural disasters last fall.

“As a former librarian, I know school libraries are important to improving student achievement, and with the second round of grants from the 2017 Disaster Relief Initiative, these schools can start on the path to full recovery,” said Mrs. Laura Bush. “To everyone affected during last year’s natural disasters, you have support from neighbors across the nation. Your hard work and can-do spirit ensures that your cities and schools will thrive again.”

“The grants ranged in size from $15,000.00 to $75,000.00,” St. Croix District Coordinator for school libraries William Pollard said. “The grants can only be used to purchase library books, periodical subscriptions, or e-books. We are most grateful to the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries for their support in these days of great need.”

Pollard said the grants were intended to supplement school libraries’ existing collections of books — not completely replace all of the damaged books no longer in the libraries.

Arthur Richards Junior High School, Alexander Henderson Elementary, Eulalie Rivera Elementary, Lew Muckle Elementary, Alfredo Andrews Elementary, John H. Woodson Junior High and Pearl B. Larsen Elementary all have no books in their school libraries.

Elena Christian Junior High, which has temporarily relocated to the Manor School in La Grande Princesse, and it not only has no books, but no space for a library, so $50,000 in Laura Bush grants intended for the facility are at risk.

In response to a shattering season of storms and wildfires, The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries established the 2017 Disaster Relief Initiative to help rebuild school libraries that were damaged or destroyed in recent natural disasters in Texas, Florida, California, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. In January, the Laura Bush Foundation initially awarded over $850,000 to 17 school libraries affected by Hurricane Harvey. With the second round of 2017 Disaster Relief Initiative grants, the Laura Bush Foundation has now awarded over $2 million to school libraries devastated by the storms and fires that ravaged schools around the country last fall.

The 2017 Disaster Relief Initiative is the second time the Laura Bush Foundation has assisted in disaster relief efforts. The “Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative,” created and raised as a separate and special fund, helped rebuild school library collections affected by the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. The Laura Bush Foundation awarded nearly $6.5 million in grants to 124 schools in the Gulf Coast area between 2006 and 2012.

For more information on how to support the 2017 Disaster Relief Initiative, please visit:

The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries provides grants of up to $7,000 to our Nation’s neediest schools so they can extend, update, and diversify the book and print collections in their libraries with the goal of encouraging students to develop a love of reading and learning. Since its inception in 2002, it has awarded over $14.3 million to more than 2,700 schools across the country.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 50 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.


  1. CCP
    September 6, 2018 at 8:17 PM — Reply

    In 2016 the Regional Library for the Blind and Physical Handicap (St.Croix) Received $105,000 Grant and as of Today, the Library has not received this funding.

    Funding Source:
    Office of Insular Affairs.Dept of the Interior.

    Will the over-site of 2016 happen again with the Laura Bush Foundation and the Various Schools Not recieve their designated allotments?


    • Bill
      September 9, 2018 at 6:38 PM — Reply

      The public library was from the Federal government.
      The Laura Bush Foundation is a private non-profit charity.
      How did you not know this?

  2. CCP
    September 7, 2018 at 1:19 AM — Reply

    The Regional Library (St.Croix) was closed December 2017. The Library was eventually opened after the Virgin Community found out that the Library was closed.

    The Regional Library recievied a $105,000 Grant in 2016 from the Dept of the Interior: Office of Insular Affairs.The Regional Library as of today 2018 has not seen any use of the Purcurement of the $105,000.



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