Library Administration

HPL Rhea LawsonRhea Lawson, Ph.D., Executive Director

Dr. Lawson has served as the Executive Director of the Houston Public Library (HPL) since 2005. She is keenly focused on ensuring that public libraries in general and HPL in particular, remain essential to the quality of life in communities. The library system is continuously evolving and moving forward to a comprehensive, innovative platform of services and programs that meet the rapidly changing needs of Houston’s residents and the digital environment.

HPL Nicole RobinsonNicole Robinson, Deputy Director

Nicole Robinson joined the City of Houston in 2007 as the director of  the city’s WeCAN (Wireless Empowered Community Access Network) initiative. She previously served as the Assistant Director of Community Education and Outreach for several years, where she led new initiatives and signature efforts in support of HPL’s core priorities of literacy advancement, workforce development, technology access and instruction support for student success. 

Laurie Covington, Deputy Assistant Director, Customer Experience

Laurie Covington has over 18 years of library experience with 15 years in a leadership capacity.  She currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Director of Customer Experience for the Houston Public Library.  She provides leadership and oversight for Neighborhood Libraries and the Central Library. 


HPL John MiddletonJohn Middleton, Assistant Director, Spaces and Communications

John Middleton rejoined HPL in 2013 and serves as Assistant Director of Spaces and Communications for HPL. John’s responsibilities include overseeing and coordinating the multiple components involved with managing HPL’s Capital Improvement Projects and budget, facilities management and security, interfacing with the General Services Department, other City of Houston departments and offices, and community groups. He is also responsible for HPL’s Branding, Graphic Design, Print Shop, Exhibitions, and Civic Art units.

HPL Ricardo Peralex

Ricardo Peralez, Deputy Director of Customer Experience

Ricardo “Rick” Peralez has a wealth of experience in both the library and technology industries.  He joined HPL as Assistant Director of Digital Strategies in 2015. Chief among his responsibilities is to manage, guide and innovate HPL’s technology operations and services, including the Library Integrated System, while providing stellar customer service.  Rick also oversees HPL’s book and media collections and online resources. 

HPL Ophelia GomesOphelia Gomes, Deputy Assistant Director, Organizational Development

Ophelia Gomes is HPL’s Deputy Assistant Director of Organizational Development. She is responsible for the oversight of HPL’s Training and Professional Development, Volunteer Services, and Employee Safety and Wellness sections. Ophelia has over 18 years of professional human resource experience and has led, developed and delivered initiatives to improve employee engagement, employee retention and  leadership development. Ophelia has held human resource management positions at HPL since 2005.

HPL Hope WaobikezeHope O. Waobikeze, Deputy Assistant Director, Finance

Hope Waobikeze has over 20 years of combined work experience in accounting, finance and leadership. She is currently the Chief Financial Officer (CFO)/Deputy Assistant Director of HPL. In her capacity, she leads the Financial Services Division to analyze, interpret and compile financial data that meet specific regulation and management requirements for both government and public accounting. She establishes and monitors accounting and financial policies and procedures for HPL as well as directs all internal and external audits.

HPL Antoinette JenkinsAntoinette Jenkins, Executive Assistant, Library Director

Antoinette Jenkins is the point person, providing a high-level of professionalism, customer service and management for the executive office for the Library since 2007. Antoinette has a wealth of diverse experience in Public Administration obtained through 25 years of employment with the City of Houston in several departments and in various executive administrative roles. 

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