Barbara Bush library to reopen this summer after being damaged by Harvey

By Taisha Walker - Reporter

CYPRESS, Texas - The Barbara Bush Branch Library in Cypress is expected to reopen this summer after being destroyed during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

PHOTOS: Barbara Bush Library in Houston

Roughly 44,000 books on the first floor of the library were destroyed by 2 feet of water during the hurricane. Furniture and shelving units were also a total loss, according to Garrette Smith, of the Harris County Public Library.

“If you include technology in that, and furniture, it was about $1.3 million worth of damage,” Smith said.

The library was dedicated in February 2003 to honor former first lady Barbara Bush, who has been a champion of literacy for more than 30 years. She has helped to raise more than $1 billion to help children learn to read.

“She fully believes that, only if they can read, then they can realize their fullest potential in life and take advantage of all our country has to offer and to have a brighter future,” said Julie Finck, president of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation.

Library staff said Bush has visited the location at least seven times, mostly popping up unannounced to surprise visitors and staff.

“You’re star-struck, from the stories that I’ve heard," Smith said. "People have been star-struck just seeing her walk into the branch, and actually (to) have your child read to by the former first lady is just an honor."

[Leave your well-wishes for Barbara Bush]

After months of using yoga studios, worship centers and area businesses as pop-up library locations, the Barbara Bush Branch Library is close to completion.

On Monday, furniture and books were delivered. New flooring and wiring were also recently installed. Staff said the new items were made possible with the help of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and donations from all across the nation.

The library is expected to open in May. Smith said an official date will be announced within a week.

Monetary donations are being accepted at bblf.org. The library does not have space to accept book donations.

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