HOUSTON -The Office of Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Houston Public Library Foundation (HPLF), the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation (BBHLF) and the Houston Public Library (HPL) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, September 8th to open the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza at the Houston Public Library Downtown.
Mayor Turner was joined by District I Council Member Robert Gallegos, Bush family representatives Neil and Maria Bush and Pierce and Sarahbeth Bush, Houston Public Library Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, Houston Public Library Foundation Executive Board Member & Treasurer Tina Arias Peterman, Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation President & Chief Executive Officer Dr. Julie Finck and other invited guests and City officials.
The event culminated with Mayor Turner issuing a proclamation declaring September 8, 2021, as Barbara Bush Day in Houston, Texas.
“The City of Houston remains extremely grateful to the Bush Family and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation for their longstanding commitment to ensuring Houston is a city where all can thrive and reach their full potential through the power of literacy,” said Mayor Turner. “I thank them for their partnership and that of the Houston Public Library and its Foundation, led by Chair Licia Green Ellis, along with major donors – the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, the Brown Foundation; Downtown Redevelopment Authority (The Main Street/Market Square TIRZ #3) and Phillips 66, who helped to make the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza’s grand opening possible. The Plaza will serve as a point of light and place for all people while preserving and advancing the former First Lady’s legacy.”
Renamed for Mrs. Barbara Bush in 2016, the beautifully transformed, versatile plaza features a water wall, an adult reading area, a children’s reading room with shade structure and fans, a performance stage, a jumbo video display screen for engaging programming and events, new pavers, an artificial lawn, planters with trees, new furnishings and other special amenities.
“Mom and Dad are surely looking down on this day with humbled pride and delight,” said Neil Bush, son of President George H. W. Bush and Co-Founder of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. “On behalf of the entire Bush family, we are deeply grateful to Mayor Turner and the City Council members for honoring Mom in this most special way. It is our desire that the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza not only serve to pay tribute to her incredible life and legacy, but also that it will foster a love of reading in children and families and encourage others to help someone else receive the life-changing gift of learning how to read.”
The public can enjoy the newly transformed plaza during events like the Houston Public Library’s Hispanic Heritage Fiesta on September 18, 2021, from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in educational activities and engaging exhibits celebrating literacy and Houston’s rich Hispanic heritage.
For more information about the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, visit bushhoustonliteracy.org. For more information on Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza’s exciting events and programs and how to donate in support of the Plaza, visit Houstonlibrary.org/plaza or call 832-393-1313.