It is indisputable that what happens during the earliest years of life, when the brain architecture develops most rapidly, is critical to a child’s healthy development and long-term success. Because 90% of brain development occurs by age 5, parents and caregivers play a vital role in serving as a child’s first and most important teacher. Barbara Bush recognized this fact decades ago when she chose literacy as her cause and placed the it on the forefront of our nation’s most pressing issues.

“Libraries have always seemed like the richest places in the world to me, and I’ve done some of my best learning and thinking thanks to them. Libraries and librarians have definitely changed my life, and the lives of countless other Americans.”
— First Lady Barbara Bush

Mrs. Bush notably promoted family literacy programs in which parents and children learn and achieve together. Unfortunately, Houston lacks a comprehensive system for educating, equipping and supporting families with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to ensure their child has an early and great start before entering kindergarten. While family literacy programs do exist, oftentimes families encounter barriers to access them or programs are inadequately funded to meet the requisite needs of our diverse and vast city.

For these reasons and others, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation has partnered with Phillips 66 to invest in the transformation of areas within our public library systems into dynamic centers filled with appropriate resources for families to stimulate learning with their child from birth to age 5 following the national Family Place Libraries model. Through this highly-effective model, library staff receive specialized training and become equipped to expand programs specifically for toddlers and their parents. In addition, the specially-designed spaces feature interactive materials, early literacy kits, games, toys, music and multimedia resources, learning stations, and of course, books. Parents have access to workshops during which library staff model effective practices with families and learn how to use the resources to accelerate their child’s early learning and development.

George & Barbara Bush Family Places are located in the following Harris County Public Libraries:

Barbara Bush Branch Library

Jacinto City Branch Library

Octavia Fields Branch Library

Parker Williams Branch Library

Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library

High Meadows Branch Library

LSC - Tomball Community Library

Maud Marks Branch Library

We are proud to join Phillips 66 to advance Mrs. Bush’s vision of literacy for all by partnering with public libraries to serve as focal points in neighborhoods across our city to better serve our city’s youngest and most vulnerable children and their families.

“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.”

— President George H. W. Bush