2 San Antonio schools surprised with $16K in library grants on Kelly Clarkson show

H-E-B, Scholastic and Laura Bush foundation chipped in to help update school libraries

Carvajal Dual Language STEAM Elementary librarian Lanell Garcia is seen in the middle of the photo in a green blouse. Herff Academy librarian Elizabeth Phipps is seen on the top right wearing a printed blouse with a watch on her wrist. (San Antonio Independent School District)

SAN ANTONIO – Two San Antonio school librarians were surprised on the Kelly Clarkson show on Tuesday with grant money to update their schools’ libraries.

Carvajal Dual Language STEAM Elementary librarian Lanell Garcia and Herff Academy librarian Elizabeth Phipps appeared on the show virtually when the grants were announced.

“We knew we were getting a $5,000 grant from the Laura Bush Foundation, but then on TV, they surprised all of us with another $5,000 worth of books from Scholastic and an additional $6,000 for our schools from HEB,” said Phipps. “It was so awesome - and is going to be awesome for our kids.”

The Laura Bush foundation awarded more than $1 million in library grants this year to 205 schools across 43 states. H-E-B then surprised 15 of the Texas-based Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries grant recipients with an additional gift totaling $100,000.

Recipients of the grants had outdated library collections, averaging roughly 20 years old, according to the Laura Bush Foundation.

“There are many students who don’t have books at home, so having access to a library at school is essential,” former first lady Bush said. “With the grants, school libraries across the nation can restock and update their collections providing opportunities for students for years to come.”

Phipps’s mother also taught at Herff Academy 40+ years ago and Phipps said “you could still find books in our library that were around when my mom was teaching here.”

“We were needing an upgrade and now our library offerings are going to be aligned with our school and representative of our students,” Phipps said. “Our students are going to see themselves in the material and that is going to add so much to their learning.”

Both Herff Academy and Carvajal Dual Language STEAM Elementary are located in San Antonio Independent School District.

“Our bilingual collection was small, but now we can increase the number of our Spanish books,” said Garcia. “We can get more magazines and eBooks, which are a wonderful tool for our virtual learners. These books are going to reflect our students’ language and their culture. Our school is grateful for this amazing reward.”

Since its inception in 2002, the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries has awarded more than $16 million to more than 2,800 schools across the U.S.

Grant applications for the 2021-2022 school year will be available later this year. Visit www.bushcenter.org to find more information.

Related: San Antonio mom, H-E-B manager surprised with $25K, gifts from comedian Jimmy Fallon for Mother’s Day

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.