Together, We Will: How We Can Help, How You Can Help

#houstonstrong hand graphic

The rains had not yet stopped before many of you began offering Harris County Public Library your help and support. We were not surprised; we know you. Still, we cannot adequately express our gratitude for your generosity. 

When the scope of the damage became apparent, many of you told us how your library has been a constant in your lives and in your children’s lives—a source of pleasure and growth, as well as a refuge. We know that when you saw the damage and heard that your library will be closed indefinitely, it was not unlike losing someone close to you. We want to assure you that Harris County Public Library intends to bring back all of our libraries better than ever. We also want you to know that 22 out of 26 of our branches will return to normal operating hours starting Monday, September 11.  We are ready to help you, and Harris County as whole, rebuild.

How we can help:

Since Harvey hit, Harris County Public Library has been committed to assisting communities and individuals whenever and wherever possible. Our pop-up library at the NRG Evacuation Shelter is still in operation offering reading materials for all ages as well as internet access and a computer bank so that evacuees can contact loved ones. 

Now that many branches have reopened, we want you to keep in mind that we can continue to help in a number of ways, including

Books to help
you cope
& come back #houstonstrong

The flood has changed the world and all of our lives. We know many people will need answers to questions, they never thought they would have to ask. Harris County Public Library staff members are information professionals. We will find you the answers you need. Ask us.

How you can help:

For those of you who have generously offered assistance to any of the four branches that remain closed or to HCPL as a whole, here is what you should know.

Monetary donations: the most effective way to help the four closed branches, as well as the Harris County Public Library system as a whole, is a donation of any size to your branch’s friends group, or to the umbrella group, Harris County Friends of the Library. Friends groups will put your contribution to work helping to rebuild branch collections that were lost in the floods, and to support library programming. Equally effective is to donate your time to become an active member of any of the friends groups.

Big thanks to Coin Copiers for allowing evacuees at our NRG Center pop-up library to print FEMA forms free of charge.

Volunteering: Because of significant risks of injury and the health concerns involved in clean up and remediation at the four heavily damaged branches, we cannot have volunteers on site at this time. We know you want to roll up your sleeves and get to work--and the time for that will come—but right now, we need to leave the work to the professionals.

Used books: Many of you have offered donations of used books. Please understand we are truly grateful for your generosity, but, because of the need to empty out four branches of everything salvageable in order for repairs to begin, we simply do not have room to store donated books. Additionally, because of processing and other issues, it is not cost effective for us to add large quantities of used materials to our collections and at a time like this, every penny we can save in operational costs can be better spent getting libraries reopened.

That being said, many Friends groups hold used book sales to raise funds for library materials and programs. Please, consider donating your gently used books to them.  Visit for more information.

Finally, all of us at HCPL want to thank you all for your support and good thoughts. We will provide periodic progress reports as we move forward.



I am so sad to see the Bear

I am so sad to see the Bear Creek Library closed due to the flooding, I hope the damage is manageable. I have been part of this library for more than 20 years, even before the tornado damage that closed that location for 18 months. I have just returned to my flooded house after nearly 10 days of flooded streets, and found there had been 12 inches of flood water in my home, and extensive damage. I was pleasantly surprised to find my 6 library books sitting high on a shelf where I put them before we evacuated by boat. There are perfectly dry and I am finishing them and will return to another branch that is open. This is one of the things I am getting comfort from during this terrible disaster, so thank you for being there for me. Sincerely, Laura Gardner

We are sorry to hear about

We are sorry to hear about your home. Our hearts go out to you and yours. 

The library books are, of course, secondary to everything else you have on your hands, but we're glad you will get to enjoy them.

Bear Creek Library was not damaged as badly as others, but it did sustain significant damage. But we are moving forward with restoring it to pre-Harvey condition. It will take some time.