Originally created 09/24/05

Laura Bush hopes to restock libraries hit by hurricanes



WASHINGTON - First lady Laura Bush hopes to send 5 million books to the schools and libraries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama with the help of donations at her weekend book festival.

"No doubt, many books were destroyed by the rain and flood waters," she said at a gala Friday night for donors to the $1.5 million festival. "Family Bibles, scrapbooks, children's books that were cherished by parents and children alike."

Saturday's fifth annual National Book Festival, which Bush organized with the Library of Congress, included readings and book signings by nearly 80 American authors.

Authors Tom Wolfe, Linda Sue Park, David McCullough and Sue Monk Kidd spoke at Friday night's gala and read excerpts from their books.

Wolfe praised Bush's support for American literature. He then delivered a racy reading about libidinous cats from his latest novel, "I Am Charlotte Simmons," drawing a smattering of laughter from the crowd.

The Library's director of communications, Jill Brett said Wolfe had not chosen to clear his remarks with organizers, as other authors had done.

On the Net:

Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov