Barbara Bush Branch Library at Cypress Creek finally reopens after Harvey flood waters destroyed first floor

CYPRESS, Texas - Monday begins a new chapter for the Barbara Bush Branch Library at Cypress Creek. The Harris County library is finally open after hurricane Harvey shut it down last August.  Based on the number of people waiting for the doors to open, this place was missed.

Danielle Decarlo says, "This seems like the beginning of the next step after Harvey to be able to move on and really rebuild and have everything back that we've really missed for so long."

The first floor was destroyed by about two feet of water, along with 44,000 books.  Harvey washed away furniture, shelving units, technology and almost the entire collection of children's books.

"We home school, so the library is a big part of our life," says Brittany Lawrence. "So, while the library was closed that made it a lot harder on us because we get a lot of our curriculum supplements here."

The damage was estimated at $1.3 million.  Cathy Clark is the assistant branch manager.  "This is the busiest library in the Harris County public library system."

It was dedicated a little more than 15 years ago to honor former first lady, Barbara Bush, who championed literacy up until her death last month.  Her passion led her to raise more than a billion dollars over 30 years to help children learn to read.

Clark says, "Her legacy and reaching out to people for literacy is one of the inspirations for libraries."  She has a very special place on a wall mural overlooking the children`s books. That mural was one of the only things spared by the storm.  "There will be a grand opening celebration in June, so look forward to that as well."

Library staff say the former first lady dropped by many times over the years, mostly unannounced, to surprise anyone who happened to be visiting at the time.  Though she did not live to see the doors reopen, just looking around at the many pictures of her, there`s no question her spirit will definitely live on.

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