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Hurricane Harvey Did Not Spare Texas Libraries

by on October 27, 2017

Hurricane Harvey caused record-breaking rainfall to the Houston-Galveston area the last week of August 2017, as tens of thousands of Texas residents evacuated their homes for emergency shelters. Stores closed and school doors shut, as the people of Texas buckled down to make it, not only through the storm, but also through the aftermath and cleanup. “By Tuesday, August 29 more than 3,500 Houston residents had been rescued, but with rain still falling at press time, the extent of the damage was still to be determined.”[1]

Nothing was spared from the wrath of Harvey, including area libraries. Most libraries had so much floodwater that it was initially impossible to determine the extent of damage.  Houston Public Library (HPL) director Rhea Lawson said it was hard to even try to reopen because many of staff members were displaced from their homes and living in shelters.

On September 5, Houston Public Library reopened 18 of its 42 locations. “The Kendall Neighborhood branch may have taken on up to six feet of water; a full assessment is still not possible, Lawson said, because the three-story building is still inaccessible due to surrounding flood waters.  (American Libraries Magazine 2017)

To help support the recovery of Houston Public Library please visit here, as they are now taking restricted donations for library recovery.


  1. Peet, Lisa. 2017. “Texas Libraries Hit Hard by Hurricane Harvey.” Library Journal.


American Libraries Magazine. 2017. houston library foundation. September 05. Accessed September 20, 2017. https://www.houstonlibraryfoundation.org/hpl-recovery/.


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