Although much of the work performed by the Barbara Bush Library Friends occurs behind the scenes, the nonprofit’s tireless work has benefited the Barbara Bush Library, which has the highest circulation of all libraries within Harris County and continuously ranks among the top branches for library programs.
Former BBLF president Susan Greer said the nonprofit offers numerous programs, such as the summer reading program, storytelling programs, author talks and an open house each December. The BBLF helps buy materials for the library and encourages children’s book donations to the BBLF bookstore.
“These programs are made possible by generous donations from other Library Friends’ member dues, the bookstores and fun fundraisers like our ‘Undecorate the Tree’ program at Christmas,” Greer said.
The Friends raised $59,000 in 2013 for the library, BBLF president Susheela Beteet said. About half of the funding came from the BBLF bookstore, Beteet said, which sells gently used books for children, teens and young adults, while the other half came from private donors through various fundraising drives.
Greer said, as a former librarian, the work performed by BBLF reflects its goal to encourage reading in the community.
“I love the pleasure of reading, and I see so many great benefits of having a library like this one for the community and what it offers for people of all ages,” she said. “Our job at the BBLF is to pick up where Harris County leaves off and help the library to continue to be a hub of knowledge, resources and lifelong learning.”
The Library Friends formed in 1973, three years before the branch opened and at a time when Spring and Klein were rapidly growing, Greer said. The Friends lobbied successfully for a library branch in north Harris County, which opened in June 1976, aided by the American Association of University Women.
Today, the AAUW still helps the Friends in supporting the library, including the awarding of a grant to buy biographies for the branch in 2013.
Beteet, a native of Malaysia, came to Houston and found a place for learning and fellowship at the Barbara Bush Library. Beteet said she did not know anyone when she first moved to the area, but the library was a good source for meeting friends, learning a new language and understanding a new culture.
“I still come to the library and learn things I never knew before because of all the books and resources they have,” Beteet said.
The president said she hopes the library and the BBLF will continue to grow.
“I really hope more people will become more involved with this organization and the library itself, because if you look at the numbers, you see that it positively affects everyone in the neighborhood and community here,” she said. “The services this wonderful library and staff offer are not [going] unused.”
Barbara Bush Library
6817 Cypresswood Drive