Pandemic and Burst Pipes had caused closure
By Allan Jamail
Galena Park, TX. – July 26, 2022 – All of the Harris County Public Library (HCPL) Branches were closed to the public due to the Covid-19 virus pandemic from March 2020 to May 2021. From June 2020 to May 2021, many of the HCPLs, including the Galena Park branch, offered virtual programs and curbside pickup for library materials and activities for all ages.
Ms. Sisi Medina, Galena Park’s Branch Manager, said they also continued to connect with the local schools with Crafts To Go during summer school in 2021. In addition, she said they offered some one-on-one English as a Second Language (ESL) and U. S Citizenship classes via online teaching sessions.
Galena Park’s Branch closed indefinitely due to damages caused by a broken pipe during the statewide killer freeze of February 2021. The branch went through renovation until Fall 2021 but continued to serve the public in a limited capacity. They offered online programs, and continued ESL and Citizenship classes. Local users were redirected to Jacinto City’s Library.
Medina said they held weekly Pop Up Library with their Curiosity Cruiser from May 2021 to December 2021 in the library parking lot, and hosted their two annual celebrations in the parking lot as well: Booapalooza for Halloween, and Curbside Posada for winter holiday celebrations. Finally in December 2021, they partially opened using just their lobby to members providing laptop and printer services again.
They reopened to the public on January 3, 2022 with new extended hours. With a small collection of books on shelving carts, borrowed furniture, and equipment they offered some normalcy back to the community. They now have children and adult computers available for research, gaming, and school class assignments connected to printers. Medina said, “We have the largest collection of Spanish books in both fiction and non-fiction in the entire county.”
Medina said, “We’re still not fully furnished, but we’ve been able to resume in-person programs and some services. We have our full collection of books on new shelving and new computer equipment. Our Summer Reading Program events have been well attended and we look for ward to having new furniture soon. We hope to be able to resume in-person ESL and Citizenship classes in the fall 2022.”