Learning Link FAQs

Everything you need to know about the Learning Link Student Card!

The Learning Link is a collaborative effort between HPL, City of Houston, H-E-B and the Houston Independent School District (HISD) to rise to the White House ConnectED Challenge pledging to link students to essential resources to achieve success in school and beyond. 

Students will have access to our numerous resources at any library location, at school and even at home on a laptop, tablet or smart phone. These resources include:

  • Access to more than 1 million books, e-books, magazines and research materials.
  • Access to copious online student resources for school projects in all subjects.
  • FREE Wi-Fi and computer access at all 43 HPL locations.

What is the Learning Link Student Card?
It is a student’s educational passport to check out books, use online tools and access other services for FREE at all HPL locations, at home and inside the classroom.  

Who can apply for a Learning Link card?
This student account is only offered to HISD students (and staff) at this time. All students are automatically enrolled. You may customize your child's account if you wish to limit access to library material (see below).  

Can I opt out of the Learning Link program?
If you do not want your child to have access to library materials, you may opt out by submitting the form. Be aware that students who opt out of Learning Link will not be able to participate in classroom use of library resources unless they have a Houston Public Library MY Link card and know the full card number and PIN. Submit one form per child.

Are there any fines or fees? 
Students will never have overdue fines on their student library account. Students will be responsible for fees up to $10 for lost or damaged items. Their account number is their HISD student ID number. 

What types of resources and tools are accessible?
Students will have full access to HPL's digital media including e-books, databases and online homework help from home or school using any computer or device. Student accounts do not allow students to check out DVDs, laptops, or any mobile devices from HPL libraries. 

What is the Learning Link Student account?
An HPL student account is a special library account that utilizes a student's ID number and it's easy for students to remember. There is not a physical card associated with these accounts. Each account is created using data provided by the school district. Accounts are automatically created for new students weekly. 

What is the Learning Link Student barcode? 
The library barcode of each student account is formatted as follows (with no dash or spaces):
FIRST INITIAL OF LAST NAME followed by student ID number
Example: John Smith, Student ID Number 12345678
Library account number is: S12345678

How will this card help my child?

  • Stronger reading skills - the more students read, the better their comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary.
  • Academic success - the more students read for fun on their own time, the higher their reading scores AND math scores.
  • Good communication skills - readers will be armed with the vocabulary they need to better communicate with their peers, teachers, and parents.
  • Critical thinking skills - readers improve their general knowledge, and more importantly, are able to spot patterns quickly and identify solutions.

How do students begin using their accounts? 
Students can begin accessing HPL resources by visiting the HPL website and using their student ID number (see Learning Link Student account)

Do student accounts have PINs?
Yes. The accounts will use the student's birth month and date as PIN.
Example: John Smith, Date of Birth: November 24, 2005
PIN: 1124

Do student accounts replace traditional library cards?
No. If a student already has a HPL MY Link library card, he/she will continue to be able to use it to check out materials from the library and use in-library computers. The student accounts supplement the MY Link library card and improve each student's ability to access HPL online research tools as part of their school work. Students who do not yet have a MY Link library card may obtain one after verifying eligibility.

Are all students eligible and have a student account? 
Any student enrolled at a school in HISD is eligible for a student account. Accounts are automatically active upon on the first day of school (or student starts). 

Do student accounts expire?
The student account remains active as long as student is enrolled in the district. It is valid during summer and other school breaks. Accounts will become inactive once a student reaches $50 worth in non-returned books.

How many items can the student borrow?
Students may borrow up to a total of 10 (juvenile items for elementary students; juvenile and/or adult items for middle and high school students) at one time for FREE. These can be print items or audiobooks. Students will also have unlimited access to digital materials with their Learning Link card, including e-books, e-audio books, and streaming video and music. There are checkout limits but they are the same as for any account, Check E-Books & More for more details. 

How long can the student keep library materials?
The standard loan period is three weeks. Most items may be renewed for one additional three week period. The renewal period is calculated from the date the items are renewed. The maximum loan period, including renewal, is six weeks.

Can school district staff get an account?
All HISD personnel (teachers and staff) receive a Learning Link account as well! This account provides access to HPL’s electronic resources only. HISD staff IDs serve as the library account number. If a staff member wishes to physically check-out material from a library location, they will need to use their MY Link library card or sign up for a MY Link card.