Since its founding in 1921, HCPL has weathered many storms - both figuratively and literally. However, no matter the event, HCPL staff and the Harris County community have come together to rebuild their branch libraries: better and stronger. Below is a non-exhaustive list of the disasters we've faced together and how we've recovered from them.
COVID-19 Pandemic (2020-2021)
HCPL closed its doors to the public in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff transitioned to virtual and curbside services to continue offering exceptional customer service to the community until May 2021, when the library opened its doors again.
Hurricane Alicia (1983)
Hurricane Alicia hit the Houston region in August 1983. The storm damaged the roof of the Aldine Branch Library and nearly delayed the opening of the Kingwood Branch Library.
Hurricane Harvey (2017)
In August 2017, the Baldwin Boettcher, Barbara Bush, Katherine Tyra @ Bear Creek, and Kingwood branches were substantially flooded due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey. A majority of the collection, furnishings, and equipment at the branches were lost. Recovery took several months, and while three of the branches fully reopened in 2018, the Baldwin Boettcher branch remains at its temporary location as of 2021.
Hurricane Ike (2008)
In September 2008, Hurricane Ike swept through Harris County, bringing storm winds and water. Several branches were without power for days. The Evelyn Meador branch suffered from minor flooding. Since plans were already underway to replace the building, the Evelyn Meador branch remained closed until 2011, when the new building was complete.
A general collection of images, documents, and videos from hurricanes that have hit HCPL locations since 1921.
Tornadoes have hit several branches over the years. The most notable instance was in 1992 at the Bear Creek Library.