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First Lady Laura Bush Visits MCLD
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First Lady Laura Bush Attends the Maricopa County
Library District’s Tomás & the Library Lady 

Background:  Tim Wadham, Youth Services Coordinator for the Maricopa County Library Districtcame up with a novel idea to reach a large audience of children in schools served by the District and to encourage kids to get library cards, read, and use libraries.  He selected the book, Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora, because its message conveyed the value of reading, libraries, and librarians.  He then decided that live theater was the best vehicle to reach a large school audience and asked Childsplay, an award-winning theater company for young audiences based in Tempe, Arizona, to adapt the book for the stage.

Left to right:  David Saars, Childsplay Director; First Lady Laura Bush; Tim Wadham, MCLD, and Harry Courtright, MCLD Director


The Maricopa County Library District was thrilled when the First Lady Laura Bush accepted its invitation to attend a performance of Tomás and the Library Lady. Mrs. Bush visited Phoenix on June 16, 2006, and saw the play in Guadalupe where the Library District operates the Guadalupe Branch Library. About 200 people attended, including 100 children. 


A former teacher and school librarian, Laura Bush has a local connection with the Maricopa County Library District.  Several years ago Mrs. Bush asked Tim Wadham, the Library District’s Youth Services Coordinator, to serve on the advisory committee for The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s LibrariesTomás and the Library Lady is Tim Wadham’s latest project and the book is one of Mrs. Bush's favorites, so she was very interested in the project.

Laura Bush with Yolanda London and Ricardo D. Araiza.

Mrs. Bush onstage with actors, Yolanda London and Ricardo D. Araiza.

Tomás and the Library Lady actors, Heather Harper and Marcos Najera


First Lady Laura Bush watching the play, surrounded by kids, with Tim Wadham sitting on her right, and Senator Jon Kyl on her left.


Commenting to the audience afterwards, Mrs. Bush said, “I loved this.  I loved having the chance to see this play.  I’ve known about it for a long time.  Tim (Wadham) told me about it and I knew that the next time I came to Arizona I hoped I’d be able to see this.  It was really fun to get to watch with all of these kids.”

The author of the book, Tomás and the Library Lady is Pat MoraThe playwright is Jose Cruz GonzalezThe cast is from Childsplay. The director is David Saars.

                             c2006, Arizona Library Association.  Last modified 8-16-2006.  6:00 p.m.