First Lady Laura Bush visited a school on the Lower East Side with Mayor Bloomberg and other city officials yesterday. The first lady, a former school librarian, announced a $1.3 million grant from the Laura Bush Foundation for school libraries across the country to update their book collections. Twenty-eight schools in the city will get grants up to $5,000, including the the Island School on East Houston. The Post reports that the Island School's head librarian Lewis Lhana, who conducts puppets shows, had one of the puppets "gentle dragon Qualia" tell Mayor Bloomberg he smelled "like a rocket ship."

Later in the evening, the first lady was honored for her commitment to literacy and education at the Fifth Annual Sesame Workshop Benefit Dinner. Her daughters attended with her, and the photo at top is a splendid "Suggest a caption" opportunity! And husband President Bush was in NJ for a state Republican party fund-raiser. The event raised almost $700,000 and also attracted protesters. Fun fact from the NY Times: Prominent NJ Republicans, such as Thomas Kean Jr. (who blamed his failed gubernatorial campaign on Bush) and former Governor and EPA secretary Christie Todd Whitman, were not there.

Photograph of Laura Bush with daughters Jenna and Barbara by Seth Wenig/AP