Houston Public Library (HPL) stands firm in our belief that libraries play an important role in actively fostering a love for learning, promoting literacy, and empowering all members of our community with free and equitable access to knowledge and information.
We vehemently oppose the recent decision to eliminate school libraries at several HISD New Education System (NES) schools and turn them into detention centers. This decision not only goes against our values but also presents challenges to children and their families especially in low-income areas and portrays the library as an unnecessary, negative space.
We firmly believe that access to information and access to a plethora of learning opportunities are essential tools for the sustained growth and success of our youth. We recognize and applaud the vital role that school libraries play in supporting our children in their academic journey by fostering a passion for reading and providing a safe space for exploration and discovery. While we oppose HISD’s decision to eliminate libraries in schools that need them most, we want to assure our community that HPL will continue to support youth and their families with educational resources, programs, and services through our 44 locations embedded in neighborhoods across the city.
To help ensure that the children and their families most impacted by the elimination of school libraries have access to resources needed to support their learning we are taking the following steps:
1. Enhanced Outreach: We will strengthen our outreach efforts to ensure that families, teachers, and students are aware of the vast resources and services available at HPL. Our team is dedicated to assisting them in navigating our extensive catalog of books, e-books, audiobooks, educational materials, and databases to supplement their learning needs.
2. Collaborative Programs: We will continue our efforts to actively collaborate with educators and school communities to develop innovative programs and events that complement the curriculum, support remote learning, and foster a sense of continuity in education.
3. Student Resources: We will continue to offer access to online educational resources, virtual tutoring, and other student focused resources at our 44 HPL locations including online live virtual tutoring and skill-building with Brainfuse.
4. Learning Link: To encourage greater participation and use of our resources, we will launch a campaign to promote the use of our Learning Link student accounts. Learning Link is a student’s educational passport to check out books, use online tools and access other services for free at all HPL locations and at home.
5. We are Fine Free: Students and families can check out materials from HPL locations and never have to pay fines so long as the materials are returned.
6. Carefully curated collections: Our libraries intentionally build collections that serve the varied needs of the city’s intergenerational and diverse population.
Houston Public Library is steadfast in our commitment to being a pillar of support for our community, ensuring equitable access to knowledge and learning resources for everyone.
For more information about our services, resources, and programs, please visit our website at houstonlibrary.org or contact us at 832-393-1313.