We are a dynamic organization that serves one of the largest service areas – both population and area – in the country. 2.3 million residents in the City of Houston are the primary beneficiaries of a comprehensive customer-focused service delivery strategy.
Our system is comprised of 44 public service units including 31 Neighborhood Libraries, four Regional Libraries, three Special Collection Libraries and four Express Libraries, the HPL Mobile Express and a satellite library located at the Children’s Museum of Houston. Our flagship facility, Central Library, located in downtown Houston, anchors this constellation of service points.
We Link people to the world.
To be a vital member of a dynamic & diverse
local, national & global community.
The Friends provides support and resources for Houston Public Library programs.
Rhea 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.
Ricardo Peralez, Chief Operating Officer
Ricardo “Rick” Peralez is responsible for managing the daily operations and services of HPL by leading and coordinating organizational resources to effectively and efficiently provide stellar customer service. Rick has a wealth of experience in both the library and technology industries. He joined HPL in 2015 as Assistant Director and CTO of Digital Strategies. In 2020, Rick was named Deputy Director of Customer Experience with oversight of all library locations. In 2022, Rick was named Chief Operating Officer with oversight over all public facing operations and services.
John Middleton, Assistant Director - Spaces
John Middleton rejoined HPL in 2013 and serves as Assistant Director of Spaces for HPL. John’s responsibilities include overseeing and coordinating the multiple components involved with managing HPL’s Capital Improvement Projects and budget. Additionally, he oversees facilities management and security, interfacing with the General Services Department, other City of Houston departments and offices, and community groups.
Dominic Tong, Assistant Director - Digital Strategies & Chief Technology Officer
Dominic Tong joined HPL in 2022 and develops and implements cutting-edge technological strategies in collaboration with HPL leadership and staff and Houston Information Technology Services (HITS).These tech strategies support and move forward critical library services, innovative programs, and system-wide operations.
Hope O. Waobikeze, Assistant Director - Finance & Chief Financial Officer
Hope Waobikeze has over 20 years of combined work experience in accounting, finance and leadership. 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.
Roberto Zapata, Assistant Director - Customer Experience
Roberto Zapata rejoined HPL in 2018 as a Senior Manager of Neighborhood Libraries. In his current role as Assistant Director of Central and Neighborhood Libraries, he provides leadership and oversight for all neighborhood libraries and the Central Library. His priority is to ensure that all customers have a great and memorable experience at the library through the services, programs, and above all, the staff.
Patrick Atkins, Deputy Assistant Director - Materials Acquisition, Fleet & Systemwide Training
Patrick joined HPL in 2007, and worked over ten years in Customer Experience before taking on the role of manager of the Library Materials Services unit. He now oversees the selection, processing and cataloging of all new materials both print and digital as well as circulation administration and Interlibrary Loan. Using this knowledge of the community and the collection, he is leading the frontline staff training program for the organization.
Ophelia Gomes, Deputy Assistant Director - Systemwide Programs
Ophelia Gomes joined the City of Houston's Human Resources Department in 2000, and later joined the Houston Public Library in 2005. She has lead the Library HR team, the Organizational Development team and serves as a member of the Executive Leadership Team. In her current role, Ophelia is responsible for providing leadership, direction and oversight of the System-wide Program team. Additionally, she leads the Community Education & Learning team with the aim of elevating customer experience through engaging and meaningful programs and educational experiences.
Alexsaundra Preston, Deputy Assistant Director - Communications
Alexsaundra Preston joined HPL in 2021. In her role she provides vision, leadership and oversight for communications, marketing and branding staff. Alexsaundra is responsible for the development and execution of HPL's media relations outreach, and she serves as the public information officer for the system.
Laurie Covington, Manager – Statistics, Grants & Business Intelligence
Laurie Covington is an experienced library professional and leader who joined Houston Public Library in 1999. She currently serves as the Statistics and Business Intelligence Manager for HPL. She uses her extensive knowledge of libraries and library operations to collect data and analyze statistical trends across the organization. She benchmarks the library industry to develop business intelligence for strategic planning and data driven decisions. Laurie also plays a lead role in HPL’s staffing and hiring processes along with COH Human Resources Department.
Toni Jenkins, Executive Assistant
Toni Jenkins is the point person, providing a high-level of professionalism, customer service and management for the executive office for the Library since 2007. Toni has a wealth of diverse experience in Public Administration obtained through 30 years of employment with the City of Houston in several departments and in various executive administrative roles.