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Baldwin Boettcher Library returns to Mercer Botanic Gardens

August 2, 2018

Hurricane Harvey damaged the Baldwin Boettcher Branch Library with high flood waters, but it has returned in a different incarnation to the Mercer Botanic Gardens as the Little Blue Library.

Surrounded by landscaped gardens, the new library opened on June 4 to coincide with the first day of the summer reading program and is the first stage in a partnership with Mercer, said branch manager Victoria Knauff.

“After Harvey, we all felt the loss of the library, so being able to bring it back in such a reimagined way has been a lot of fun,” she said.

After opening last month, the Little Blue Library has been offering book checkout to patrons and programs such as story time, English classes, geocaching and summer feeding.

Despite the heat, many regulars and new patrons have been arriving to check out books and attend programs the library is hosting.

While Harvey devastated many homes and businesses, the Harris County Public Library had four of its branches shut down due to flood damage.

The Barbara Bush Library, Kingwood Library and Katherine Tyra Library reopened in late spring after undergoing extensive renovations costing $3.55 million.

The library system lost about $4.4 million worth in books, furniture, electronics and materials from all four affected branches.

Baldwin Boettcher Library was the only branch that did not reopen in late spring as officials have been deciding to relocate the physical building or provide different library services to the public.

“The former space’s future is still to be determined, but Baldwin Boettcher Library is open for the public,” Knauff said.

During the months of not having a physical location, Cypress Trails United Methodist Church hosted the pop-up library with Baldwin Boettcher staff.

The Little Blue Library has helped reunite the staff, who had been reassigned to different branches while it was closed.

“We were and are so excited that we have been given the opportunity to offer the community a sense of normalcy by offering materials to check out for all ages, year-round programming, a place to pick up holds, all within such beautiful gardens,” Knauff said.

The Little Blue Library is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed on weekends.

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