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In response to the murder of George Floyd, Houston Public Library's African American History Research Center (AAHRC) launched the George Floyd Lecture Series to foster difficult yet crucial conversations about racial equity and social justice.


Join us on Thursday, May 23, 2024, at Noon – 2 p.m., for a riveting conversation with guest speaker Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry. Register now or continue reading full media alert.

As part of our 120th Birthday celebration, we asked our customers to share the books that they love, and to tell us why they love them. The response was amazing! We received more than 120 replies and had to narrow them down to a representative list of 120, which wasn't easy. We've learned that there are all sorts of different reasons to love a book, and that our customers really love historical and fantasy fiction!


The 120 Books YOU Love list links to catalog records for each title, making it easier for anyone to find new titles to love, or to re-visit an old favorite. It's grouped into different genres and age levels, and has a little something for everyone, much like the library itself.


Don't miss this interview with Manager Sylvia Espinosa about Houston Public Library's 120th birthday and legacy on City Savvy, the monthly newsletter for City of Houston Employees. 


The Houston Chronicle published an article about HPL's 120 Year celebrations on March 20. The article mentions the commemorative library cards and parties, the Books You Love survey project, and more.



Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson made an appearance on Channel 13's morning news show on March 19 to speak about HPL's 120th birthday and its promotion of literacy.

The HPL segment starts at about the 38:12 mark of this recorded episode.


The Texas Library Association (TLA) announced recently that Israel Favela, Collection Development and Cataloging Manager at Houston Public Library (HPL), was elected Representative-at-Large, Public Libraries. Favela will take office at the close of the 2024 TLA Annual Conference in April in San Antonio.


Favela has been active in TLA for many years, serving as a member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Conference Programming Committee, District 8 Programming Subcommittee and Local Arrangements Committee. He also has been an officer of the Latino Caucus Round Table and Queers & Allies Round Table. Favela is a 2019 graduate of the TALL Texans Leadership Development Institute.


“I am deeply honored and grateful to have been selected for this position by my peers. I will proudly represent and advocate for public libraries while on TLA’s Executive Board. Libraries have played an important part in my life for as long as I can remember, and TLA in particular has been instrumental in my growth as a librarian; I am looking forward to continuing to work with and on behalf of TLA members to advance the profession and develop the library leaders of tomorrow,” said Favela.


Favela received his Master of Library Science from the University of North Texas. He has more than 10 years of experience as a librarian, beginning as a Circulation Assistant at Harris County Public Library. He joined Houston Public Library as the Collection Development and Cataloging Manager in 2021. In addition to his work in libraries, Favela is also on the Board of Trustees for his alma mater, Chinquapin Preparatory School, a boarding and day school that serves academically motivated students in grades 6 through 12 from Houston’s under-resourced communities and schools.


Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson made an appearance on Great Day Houston and spoke to Deborah Duncan about Houston Public Library's 120th birthday, reading, our history and future, and what makes HPL unique!  


Heightened community interest and support in what will become the next History Research Center is the subject of a Houston Landing story. Read more to understand the investment and development of what is slated to be "the first of its kind for a city that's home to more than 2.3 million Latino or Hispanic residents..." in 2026, according to Assistant Director of Spaces John Middleton.


We are proud to announce that the Alief Neighborhood Center & Park, home to Alief-Henington Regional Library, has won a Development of Distinction Award from The Houston District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI-Houston) in the 2024 Small-Scale Non-Profit category! We share this award with our City of Houston partners at the General Services Department, Houston Parks and Recreation, the Houston Health Department, and with Page Architects. Special kudos to SPACES Project Managers Stephen Chamberlain and Raiset Ruban for their incredible work on this project.


This prestigious award recognizes developments and open spaces that demonstrate best practices in design, construction, economic viability, healthy places, marketing and management.


You can find out more about Alief Neighborhood Center & Park from this video that was presented at the award ceremony. 


African American History Research Center (AAHRC) staff talked to American Libraries Magazine for a feature story on oral history projects, and they had the opportunity to highlight interviews included in the HPL Digital Archives. 


From the article:

Collection highlights include stories about a 1963 visit that President John F. Kennedy made to the city, Latino and Latina veterans of World War II, and alumni of the Gregory School, the city’s first public school for Black children, which opened in 1872. The Gregory School interviews, which feature students who graduated from the school between the 1920s and 1960s, are among AAHRC Manager Miguell Ceasar’s favorite, because the former school has become home to the center.


“They were thriving, and they were learning, and they were proud people,” says Ceasar. “It’s a great oral history to listen to, especially for our site.”


The Houston Chronicle took a look back at HPL's most popular books in 2023 for adults, teens and kids. (NewsBank database link to article—may require MY Link card number for login)


In 1977, local art collector and philanthropist Jacob Greenberg met with then-Director of Houston Public Library (HPL) David M. Henington to discuss his plans for setting up the Lurine Karon Greenberg Fine Arts Collection Trust for the benefit of the library. It was a memorial to his wife Lurine Karon Greenberg, who had passed away two years earlier. The Trust would provide money for purchasing nonfiction books on music, art, antiques, architecture, cooking, and travel, including histories and biographies related to these subjects. In the 45 years since, the Greenberg Collection has thrived and grown through multiple library renovations and reorganizations to become a jewel in HPL’s crown. 


The Greenbergs lived extraordinary lives. Jacob Greenberg was born in the early 20th century to Eastern European Jewish immigrants on a homestead in North Dakota, so remote that his passport listed his place of birth as simply “North Dakota, USA, no town, no village.” Lurine Karon, whose family hailed from Minnesota, was a classically trained cellist who studied in Germany in the 1920s. Mr. Greenberg pursued education and had great success in business with the garment industry and later the energy industry. His career brought his family first to Oklahoma and then Houston, where he and Lurine moved in 1966, until Lurine passed away in 1975.


The Lurine Karon Greenberg Endowment funds were initially placed in a savings account managed by the Houston Library Board, but Jacob Greenberg was able to renegotiate the terms of the endowment. The money was moved to income-generating securities and structured to benefit the library by allocating 100% of the income, awarded on an annual basis. Jacob Greenberg appointed his second wife, Joyce Zeger Greenberg, as a trustee for the fund. A trailblazer, Joyce was a skilled financial advisor and became one of Houston’s first female stockbrokers in the 1960s. Joyce, who had known Lurine socially years before meeting Jacob, was honored by the trust Jacob showed in giving her this responsibility. After Jacob passed away in 1995, Joyce continued to spearhead the growth of the Greenberg Endowment as part of the Greenberg legacy.


As of 2021, the Greenberg Fund has given Houston Public Library just under 2 million dollars and made Fine Arts one of the most robust collection areas of HPL. Each book purchased for the collection has a special bookplate marked with a quote inspired by the Book of Proverbs, “Wisdom with understanding is better than rubies.”


Joyce and Jacob Greenberg are renowned for their philanthropy. Joyce has a gallery named for her in memory of Jacob at the Museum of Fine Art Houston’s Kinder Building. Joyce has built a legacy at her alma mater, University of Chicago, starting by funding a visiting professorship and then an entire academic department, the University of Chicago Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies. 


If you’d like to learn more about the Greenberg family and their legacy, Joyce Greenberg gave an interview to HPL Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson and Houston History Research Center (HHRC) staff Archivist Ginger Berni in 2022 that can be accessed as part of our oral history collection. 


University of Houston History Professor Robert Zaretsky’s biography From Homesteader to Art Collector: The Life and Times of Jacob Greenberg, has recently been published by Rodin Books/ Simon & Schuster. 


Greenberg Collection books are available for checkout from HPL’s Central Library, shelved with the other cooking, art, architecture, antiques, music and travel books. You can browse the catalog for them, place holds and have them delivered to any HPL location for pickup. Some Greenberg Collection tiles are available in ebook format on the Boundless ebook platform


HPL staff members love the Greenberg Collection! Here are some hidden gems that they recommend:

Victor Papanek: the Politics of Design Edited by Mateo Kries, Amelie Klein, Alison J. Clarke. 
Victor Papanek was an industrial designer who was way ahead of his time (20th century) in his thinking about accessibility and sustainability. This book is a fascinating introduction to his life and ideas. —Lisa Carrico

The Stay @ Home Chef-Family Favorites Cookbook By Rachel Farnsworth 
I love cookbooks and this one is fantastic because there is a picture to go with every recipe. I start with breakfast and end with dinner recipes. There are some Awesome soup recipes. The book is one of my favorites because I love to see pictures of what the food should look like. —Virginia Williams


Southern Italian Desserts: Rediscovering the Sweet Traditions of Calabria, Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, and Sicily By Rosetta Costantino 
While reading this book I felt like I was on a tour of Southern Italy that made stops at the local bakeries ... I was a tourist delighting in all the wonderful creations to make when I returned from my trip because the person accompanying me on my trip provided me with an easy-to-read set of recipes included with tips only known to someone whose family had been making the creations for generations. —Mercedes Mayne


The Self-care Cookbook: Easy Healing Plant-based Recipes By Gemma Ogston 
It has yummy recipes and great tips on taking care of your body and mind! —Sheena Kelly


Enchanted Evenings: The Broadway Musical from Show Boat to Sondheim By Geoffrey Block 
Whether you are a Rent-head or a Wickedite, music lovers and fans of Broadway shows will appreciate the focus on the development of the music and collaboration between artists written about in this book. Read along to popular shows and trending musicals on Netflix ‘s popular Top 20 Netflix Picks for Broadway as you gain insight into the history or the songs and plays. —Mercedes Mayne


Read this feature on new Dr. Shannon Walker Neighborhood Library in Westbury, opening soon!


Houston Public Library and Houston Airports are teaming up! A digital pop-up library and self-service kiosk now offers a convenient way to access free e-books and audiobooks for readers who are on-the-go. A library card is not required.  A limited selection of physical titles in both English and Spanish can be checked out with a MY Link library card. Visit the Houston Airports Newsroom for details on a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony and more information on the new BOOKLink at William P. Hobby Airport (7800 Airport Blvd, Houston, TX  77061).


Three promising startup entrepreneurs each received $10,000 in seed money for their business after winning the City of Houston’s 11th Annual Liftoff Houston Startup Business Plan Competition. Nine finalists, selected from more than 100 applicants, competed in Liftoff’s Pitch Day on November 18, 2023 in three categories: Service, Product, and Innovation, pitching their business ideas to a panel of expert judges.


The 2023 $10,000 winners are: 

  • Teria Johnson: Charleston Kitchen, offering sweet and savory pies, inspired by Teria’s Gullah Geechee culture. Currently operating as an e-commerce company, Charleston Kitchen’s plans to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant. 
  • Zoey Barker and Mohammadmehdi Mortazavi: ExoBraced created ExoBak, a non-powered light-weight exoskeleton designed to help manual workers prevent lower back injuries and pain, while helping businesses reduce injury rates, high labor turnover, and unnecessary compensation expenses. 
  • Giovanni Garza: Classic Borrego Retail, dedicated to offering high-quality, handcrafted artisanal cowboy boots. As part of its long-term plan, the company aims to expand its presence by opening a brick-and-mortar store in the heart of Houston.

Runners-up were awarded $500 each:  

  • Francesca Bonaduce De Nigris: Intrecci by Francesca collaborates with artisans around the world, to deliver one-of-a-kind handmade rugs, including antique, vintage, and contemporary rugs, kilims, and textiles that are expressions of the people who created them as well as of the places where they were created. 
  • Diana Tudela and Hailee Trombley:  The Goodest Goodbye, redefining pet aftercare through cutting-edge, environmentally conscious water cremation (aquamation) and heartfelt farewell services for pet owners. 
  • Diane Nguyen: Flourishing Nexus LLC, aims to develop a dynamic virtual platform that unites health professionals worldwide, fostering professional networking, collaboration, and the global dissemination of knowledge and expertise, ultimately elevating the standard of patient care.

The public was invited to attend in person or view the competition live, on HTV Houston Television or by livestream on Facebook, and vote for their Fan Favorites. Classic Borrego, The Goodest Goodbye, and Flourishing Nexus received the most community votes, winning the Fan Favorite title and a cash prize of $500 each. 


2023 Houston Liftoff judges were: Jennifer Dale; LiftFund, Adriana Gonzalez; Chamber of Latin Entrepreneurs of Houston, Anthony Lopez; PeopleFund, Daniel Luu; America’s Small Business Development Center, Kyra Hardwick; The Kyra Company, Sandra Louvier; HCC Center for Entrepreneurship, Kiley Summers; SpenDebt, Grace Rodriguez, ImpactHub Houston, Kym Adams; The Business Team.


“The program is especially significant as data collected from recent competitions shows Liftoff Houston made an impact on populations that have been historically marginalized.” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “More than 90% of participants identified as people of color, more than 70% were female, 44% had no college degree, and 54% earned less than $50,000 a year.” 


The annual Liftoff Houston competition is sponsored by Capital One Bank and administered by the Houston Public Library (HPL) and the Office of Business Opportunity (OBO). Capital One Bank has given more than $330,000 in prizes for aspiring entrepreneurs since Liftoff Houston’s inception.


Of all competition finalists over the 11 years, 33 winners started businesses in retail, merchandise, consulting, software, hardware, hospitality, health and wellness, education, finance, technology, and logistics. 


“The Houston Public Library (HPL) wishes all the finalists the very best. Liftoff Houston continues to be an outstanding program that is helping people from all over the city realize their goal of starting their own business.” said HPL Director Dr. Rhea Lawson. “HPL is proud to be part of the program, and we remain committed to providing access to great, free business resources and services for anyone wanting to learn more about entrepreneurship.” 


“Liftoff Houston – and our finalists – have also made it this far because of our workshop partners, all who have given us the invaluable gift of their time.” said OBO Director Marsha Murray. “The business, financial, legal and marketing education they have provided has allowed our participants to plan a roadmap to their success, including the creation of viable business plans.” 


All who completed the Liftoff Houston competition attended nearly four months of required workshops and met with business and financial mentors. They also submitted business plans which were reviewed and judged by representatives from SCORE Houston. Participants also leveraged free business resources from the Houston Public Library and the Office of Business Opportunity to complete market research, develop marketing plans, and to create viable business plans. In addition to the competition, Liftoff Houston also featured the Educational Pathway, which extended the business education opportunities to all interested, including those not ready to compete as well as participants who did not meet eligibility requirements to compete. 


For more information about Liftoff Houston, go to


Houston History Research Center Manager Letrice Davis was interviewed by Mister McKinney and Heidi Vaughan for the Houston Hour radio show on KPFT 90.1 Friday, October 27. 


The interview is archived on the KPFT web page—to listen, just go to the Archives Page and scroll down to the Friday, October 27 entry for The Houston Hour. The interview begins around the 32 minute mark.


KHOU's Brandi Smith interviewed Houston History Research Center Manager Letrice Davis for this Hidden Gems segment all about the Julia Ideson Building! 


From the story:

Since the building is part of the Houston Public Library system, the HHRC is open to the public, including its microfiche, old yearbooks and even its 4,000-piece photo collection.


"It's important to preserve the documentary evidence of Houston because it allows researchers to come in and understand how the city started, what significant things have happened here and how the people have changed," said Davis.


The HHRC occupies a small portion of the first floor. Just outside its doors, the history lessons continue via a free audio tour of the building. Visitors can learn about the building itself and its façade. About a dozen other stops fill you in on how a tile mural of Don Quixote came to be, what the other murals in the building are all about and what’s special about the Norma Meldrum Children's Room.


"Ninety-five percent of the furniture in that room was original to the building," Davis pointed out.


The chairs, tables and shelves all date back nearly a century. It’s all been not just preserved, but restored.


"When they did the restoration, they made sure that they even went back and got microscopic paint chips so that they could restore even the color to the building," said Davis.


Its uniqueness is highlighted in spots like the Reading Room, complete with a Venus de Milo statue.


"(It's) really amazing to work here with so much history," Davis smiled. "It's just really a beautiful building. I understand totally why it's such a draw for people who are having events or just visiting the city and want to look around."


Featured in KPRC-TV, Houston Life City of Houston reveals beautiful new statue of former First Lady Barbara Bush


From the news release:

On September 28, the City of Houston, led by Mayor Sylvester Turner, in conjunction with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation (Foundation), Houston Public Library Foundation (HPL Foundation), and Houston Public Library, revealed a statue of Former First Lady Barbara Bush and held a dedication at the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza at the Houston Public Library Downtown. The bronze statue, commissioned in partnership among the organizations, will serve as the focal point of the Barbara Bush Memorial Garden located within the Plaza named in honor of the late First Lady.


The dedication was attended by Mayor Sylvester Turner; Family members of the late President George H.W. & First Lady Barbara Bush – Neil Bush (son) and wife Maria Bush, Pierce (grandson) and wife Sarahbeth Bush, Jim Pierce (nephew), and Clemmie Pierce Martin (great niece); Dr. Julie Baker Finck, President & CEO, Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation; Licia Green Ellis, Houston Public Library Foundation Board Chair; and John Middleton, Houston Public Library Assistant Director of Spaces. The invocation was offered by Reverend Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr, Rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.


The custom bronze statue, created by artists at Randolph Rose, took two years to design and create, is the first stand-alone statue of the late First Lady Barbara Bush in Texas. (A statue of the late President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush stands in the Bush Convention Center in Midland, Texas.) The statue is a life-size image of Mrs. Bush seated on a six-foot “open book” bench. She is wearing her signature pearls and is posed in the act of reading as she did so often to groups of children across the country who would gather to hear stories. Beloved family dog Millie – the family dog while the Bush’s were in the White House – sits at her feet. Mrs. Bush frequently took her dogs – whether Millie or Mini and Bebe on school visits.


“Mom championed a literacy movement across America and believed that learning how to read, write, and comprehend was a fundamental human right,” said Neil Bush, son of President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush and Co-Chair of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. “The statue is an incredible tribute to her legacy and captures Mom’s essence, as she truly loved reading to children in schools across our nation and beyond with her beloved dogs in tow.”


“This statue stands as a tribute to Barbara Bush’s incredible 30-year commitment to helping countless people across our country gain the life-changing literacy skills they need to thrive in the workforce, family and society.” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “May this statue serve as a constant reminder of her dedication and inspire us all to give in service to others and make reading a priority in our homes and communities."


The Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza is located between the historic Julia Ideson Building and the Central Library of the Houston Public Library in downtown Houston and joins five bronze book benches sponsored by the Foundation’s Ladies for Literacy Guild in 2022.


Featured in, HPL wraps up summer book club with panel featuring Nikole Hannah-Jones


From the article:

"One Houston One Book — Diverse Stories for a Diverse City was born out of a need for community after three years of the pandemic, according to HPL deputy assistant director Ophelia Gomes."


Houston Public Library's very own Youth and Family Services Manager LaTrisha Milton stopped by Great Day Houston to have a chat with Debra Duncan about celebrating diverse stories with the One Houston, One Book initiative! 

You can watch the conversation here.


The following article is a guest post from Rebecca Grimes of the HPL Family History Research Center at the Clayton Library Campus. It is published in the July 2023 issue of the Clayton Crier quarterly newsletter. To subscribe to this and other History Research Center newsletters, sign up here.


By chance do you have ancestors who signed the Declaration of Independence?  How do you connect your genealogy line to these signers?  The signers of the Declaration of Independence came from the original 13 colonies of the United States which were:  Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York State, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia.  There were a total of 57 delegates who signed the Declaration of Independence.  In this article we will be looking at two individual volumes and a seven volume set of books found in the Houston Public Library’s Family History Research Center at the Clayton Library Campus about these men.  Hopefully, these books can offer insight in connecting to your historical ancestors who made a huge impact on the founding of our country.


Lives of the signers to the Declaration of Independence by The Rev. Charles A Goodrich. (973.3 G654 USA)  Since this book was written just 53 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it doesn’t give you any ancestors or descendants of the signers.  It does give you a little information on how these men became to be signers of he Declaration of Independence.  Great information can be obtained from this book about the signers’ background and what they achieved in life.


The Signers of the Declaration of Independence: a biographical and genealogical reference by Della Gray Barthelmas. (923.273 B285 USA) This book lists in alphabetical order the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  A bibliography is given about the life of the signers with genealogy information about them.  It gives information about who they married and can give information on their children also.  The genealogy information is sometimes a little bit confusing since it is not given in the form of a genealogy chart.  In the back of the book in an index, selected biography, and an appendix.


Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence by The Rev. Frederick Wallace Pyne. Volumes 1-7 (973.313 P997 USA)


V. 1:  The New England States (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island) (2nd Edition)
V. 2:  New York State
V. 3:  New Jersey
V. 4: Pennsylvania
V. 5: Delaware and Maryland
V. 6: Virginia
V. 7: Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.


This genealogical register set contains genealogical information about the descendants of the signers only, not information about their ancestors.  In the interest of making this as complete as possible all descendants have been included: those who died young (dy), those who never married (unm), and those who married, but never had issue (children).  To find a descendant you must know the name of someone you believe to be a descendant of a signer.  Look in the every-name index at the back of the volume to find the name of that person.  There is a table of contents to each book that goes by state and tells you what signer or signers were from that state.  This is an excellent set to use because it starts with the first generation and can have information forward for multiple generations.


These books and family histories of some of the signers can be found at the Family History Research Center and hopefully they will be helpful for researchers trying to connect to an ancestor who signed the United States Declaration of Independence.  To search for these materials using the HPL catalog use the keywords “Declaration of Independence” in quotes. Remember after your search, limit your search using the filters to “Family History Research Center” to get the items that are located at our location.

Lisa Carrico

Graphic: red and black logo of Houston Public Library's One Houston One Book initiative


UPDATE: The author event with Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam has been rescheduled to Thursday, June 29, 2023.


Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Public Library (HPL) announce a new citywide reading program: One Houston, One Book: Diverse Stories for a Diverse City. This new program highlights stories that celebrate our diverse backgrounds and experiences. Featured books are aimed at readers’ interest by age; they include Yangsook Choi’s The Name Jar, now considered a children’s literature classic; Punching the Air, a novel in verse for teens, by Ebi Zoboi and Dr. Yusef Salaam; and a memoir, Once I Was You, by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa.


“Houston is the most diverse city in the country, but one in three adults in Houston has low literacy skills,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “This program will help Houstonians come together and support each other through reading and conversation. Having discussions about our varied life experiences will celebrate everything that makes Houston special.” The Mayor's Office for Adult Literacy, which has become a national model for how cities can have an impact on low literacy rates, is providing additional books for the program to engage individuals reading at various proficiency levels.  


Library Director Rhea Brown Lawson calls One Houston, One Book, “A citywide celebration of diversity and equitable access to HPL’s free resources and services. We eliminated late fines for overdue items this year, and with barriers removed, we designed a reading program to bring Houstonians together like never before. Celebrating Houston’s diversity and HPL’s free access is what One Houston, One Book is all about.” 


One Houston, One Book launches May 15 and continues through September with programming that includes block parties, read-ins, library open houses, book clubs and storytimes at library locations. The authors of the selected books are visiting Houston for a series of special events.  


Co-authors Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam discuss their novel for teens on June 13. Yangsook Choi shares her story for children virtually on July 27. Maria Hinojosa reflects on immigrant experiences in her memoir on July 29.  




Launched in 2019 by Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy (MOAL) advocates for adult literacy and spreads awareness of the impact literacy has on our economy, communities, families, and individuals. MOAL promotes and builds capacity for adult literacy and education in the City of Houston. Collaborating with a network of over 40 adult literacy providers, MOAL focuses on basic skills, financial and health literacy, digital literacy development, workforce skills development, and services to people with learning differences. For more information on the Houston Adult Literacy Blueprint visit

Lisa Carrico

photo of Houston Poet Laureate Aris Kian Brown and Mayor Sylvester Turner

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Mayor Sylvester Turner is pleased to announce the new Houston Poet Laureate: Aris Kian Brown. Brown is the sixth poet laureate and the youngest to be chosen. 


The selection of Aris was announced last night at a reception hosted by the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) and the Houston Public Library (HPL) with remarks by Mayor Turner, Dr. Lawson, Dr. Irvin, and the 2021-23 Houston Poet Laureate, Emanuelee "Outspoken" Bean.  


“It is an honor to have selected Aris as the next Poet Laureate,” says Mayor Sylvester Turner. “She represents Houston’s literary future with her prophetic poetry. She will continue the Poet Laureates' hard work before her, inspire the City of Houston with her words, and bring out the poetry in everyone. My heart is gladdened to see the Houston Poet Laureate program continue to thrive and become a part of my legacy as Mayor of this Arts City.”


"Poetry, language, and building narrative power are all my life's work,” says Aris Kian Brown.  “As the next Poet Laureate, I am looking forward to being able to share my love for both community organizing and creative expression."


Brown was selected through a competitive process by a diverse group of poets, scholars, literary experts, and community representatives. The Committee consisted of Poet Laureate Emeritus, Emanuelee “Outspoken” Bean; Elizabeth Gregory of the University of Houston; Terri Hamm of Kindred Stories; Rich Levy of Inprint; Eloísa Pérez-Lozano of The Acentos Review; and César Ramos of Raspa Magazine. Non-voting members include Victor Ancheta of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) and Justin Bogert with the Houston Public Library (HPL).


"I am so pleased to join our Mayor and Cultural Affairs Director, Necole Irvin, in congratulating Aris Kian Brown," said Houston Public Library Director, Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson. "We are excited to support Ms. Brown in engaging Houston’s diverse communities served by Houston Public Library through the exciting Poet Laureate program.”


Aris’ two-year term runs through April 2025. As Poet Laureate, she will work closely with MOCA and HPL to implement her Community Outreach Project, “Space for Us: Afrofuturism and the Poetic Imagination.” Brown will conduct a series of interviews with community members across Houston asking them questions like, “What do you hope Houston looks like tomorrow?” and then “stitch” a poem utilizing those answers, allowing everyone to see the poetry that is “already embedded in everyday people.” Brown will also translate the finished poem into the top spoken languages in the city.  


Necole S. Irvin, Director of Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, is excited about Brown’s community project. “Aris will create a unique project that will speak to all residents of Houston which aligns with our office’s goal of equity, inclusion, and accessibility to the arts for all. The project is one that complements the goals of the Houston Poet Laureate program as well, which is to make poetry accessible to everyone.” 


About Aris Kian Brown
Aris Kian is a Houston enthusiast and student of abolitionists.  Her poems are published with Button Poetry, West Branch, Obsidian Lit, The West Review, and elsewhere. She is a 2019 Pushcart nominee, 2020 Best of the Net finalist, a 2021 Crystal Wilkinson Creative Writing Prize finalist, and a 2022 New Voices Contest finalist with Frontier Poetry. Kian is the 2022 recipient of the Inprint Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing for Students with Service to the Houston Literary Community and ranks #2 in the 2023 Women of the World Poetry Slam. As an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor Fellow, she received her MFA from the University of Houston and currently serves as the Narrative Change & Media Manager at Houston in Action. She engages with the socio-mythological landscape of our metropolitan city in her poems and hates taking 610 West Loop.


About the Houston Poet Laureate Program
The City of Houston Poet Laureate Program celebrates Houston’s rich culture and diversity through the work of a poet who represents Houston by creating excitement about the written and spoken word as well as outreach activities, special programs, teaching, and individual works. The role of the Houston Poet Laureate is to stimulate poetic impulse, foster appreciation of poetry in all its forms, and serve Houston residents and visitors with expressions of culture through words. 

Lisa Carrico

Jerry Craft, the Newbery Award-winning author of New Kid, paid HPL a visit in June 2022 for our Summer Reading Author Series. Youth and Family Services Manager LaTrisha Milton sat down with our guest and talked about his upbringing, his experience in the spotlight, and Jordan Banks’ next adventure.

Photo of librarian LaTrisha Milton and author Jerry Craft

This Inside Voices Q&A Feature was originally published in the Link magazine's inaugural issue. Download your copy here


LaTrisha Milton: Can you describe the kind of research and practice that as an artist, goes into creating a graphic novel that happens to be rooted in personal experiences?

Jerry Craft: The first thing I did, was to look at my life, to see what was something everyone could relate to. And then, what was unique to my experiences, something a smaller audience would recognize, but only because they had never read about it before. I was born in Harlem, I grew up in Washington Heights, and then got sent to school in Riverdale going back and forth between two different worlds every day. I wrote and illustrated what I lived as a student, and then witnessed my sons for 10 years do the same. It’s authentic, especially for the kids of color who know what it’s like, and readers respond to that.


LM: As a response to censorship, Banned Books Week is an awareness campaign but also a call to action. Can you share an example or two of how your books being targeted served as motivation for readers?

JC: I first learned that New Kid had been banned in the school district in Texas because people on Twitter started DMing me. And then I got the updates: “This happened at the school board meeting last night, here’s a video.” I didn’t even want to watch the video, because the book is my baby. It’s like someone talking about one of your kids. On the anti-New Kid side, there was a petition to get the books taken out of the school library and to cancel my Zoom visit. But on the pro-New Kid side, there were maybe seven times as many people. Almost 3,000 people signed a petition to reinstate me. A bookstore in Katy, Brown Sugar Café and Books, helped raise money and they literally gave out free copies to teachers and kids and people that might not be able to see the book if it had been pulled. The school board, after a week, determined that the allegations were unfounded. I hate that it happened. The silver lining is that more kids saw it. I hate that I didn’t get that kind of news coverage winning the Newbery Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Kirkus Prize as I did for being banned. Unfortunately, sometimes we celebrate adversity more than we celebrate someone that really worked hard to get to where they are.


LM: New Kid and Class Act are not instructional books, so what are your thoughts on how they promote equity in children’s literature nonetheless?

JC: I don’t know what you as a woman in the public library system, or women in corporate America, go through, but I know it’s different than what I have gone through. Shouldn’t you be allowed to tell your story? And if you tell your story, is it up to me to say, “That’s sexist! That’s anti-male!” When I hear about the glass ceiling, women getting paid $.75 on the dollar to male counterparts, I examine myself, and consider the advantages I have as a male, even as a Black male. But race isn’t done that way, it’s not handled the same. You don’t have that same equity and balance. Jordan Banks in New Kid says, “so it’s OK that this stuff happens to me, it’s just not OK for me to talk about it.” And that, I think is what it comes down to. Instead of someone saying, “wow, what can we do to make our African American kids or kids of color feel more comfortable?” It’s “what can we do to now silence them so that they can continue to be uncomfortable.” At the end of the day, do they really care?


LM: It is said that books are windows and mirrors. Because September is Library Card Month, finish this sentence: Library cards are... 

JC: Library cards are the passport to get your mind to travel to other cities, other states, other countries, even other universes.


LM: What new project or projects do you have coming up?

JC: I am proud to say that the third (and possibly final) book in the series is finished and is scheduled to be released on April 4th, 2023. It’s called School Trip and will follow Jordan and Drew and their friends as they travel to Paris, France. I’ve never seen kids of color portrayed as world travelers in books. So my goal, what I am obsessed with, is if I haven’t seen it, I’m going to do it. And I think it’s the best book of the three. I put a lot of work into it and did not shy away from anything. I’ve never let any of the criticism deter me. Instead, I let the love and support that I’ve received from the first two books inspire me. And I think you’re really going to like it.

Lisa Carrico

Graphic: Fresh Start Fine Forgiveness

With the support of Mayor Sylvester Turner and approval by Houston City Council, Houston Public Library (HPL) will no longer charge late fines on overdue books and other borrowed items. This change is effective January 11, 2023. By eliminating late fines, HPL joins other public library systems across North America in lowering financial barriers to library access and creating more equitable services for all users.

Studies of libraries that have gone fine free found a higher rate of return on borrowed items, as well as an influx of users returning to the library with the barrier of late fees removed. Under previous fine-related policies, approximately 25% of HPL account holders owed fines, and 70% of those fines were accrued before 2015. Fines are intimidating enough to block customers from using library services. With the passing of this update to the standing ordinance, many Houstonians, including those who are in the most need of library services, will regain access to the vast resources available—from books and audiobooks to mobile hotspots and Wi-Fi-connected laptops. "A fine free library system evens the playing field and incentivizes Houstonians to become lifelong users of our Houston Public Library," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "When you analyze the numbers, you see that young people account for more than 27% of users with fines, preventing them from accessing free resources and tools for learning. Simply put, this is the right thing to do." HPL does not expect the elimination of late fees to impact revenue in a significant way, given that revenue from fines has comprised less than one percent of the Library's budget over the past five years. Fines have proven to be a strain on staff time and resources due to policy enforcement and account management.

HPL has offered fine forgiveness in the past, and overdue fines were eliminated on children's materials for students of area school districts participating in HPL's Learning Link program. To give all customers an opportunity to clear their accounts of monies owed, HPL has designated an amnesty period to occur from January 17 through February 18, 2023. During the amnesty period, library users are invited to visit an HPL location to return overdue items and review their account status for fees that may have been incurred for lost or damaged items. Library staff will assist with clearing all charges from accounts. Once the amnesty period ends, accounts will reflect fees to replace lost or damaged items that are not returned 30 days after the due date. HPL extended amnesty for fines in the past, most recently in 2014, when clearing accounts of $30,000 in fines led to the return of $75,000 worth of overdue materials. This is consistent with trends across the country. When Chicago Public Library removed fines in 2019, that system had a 240% increase in book returns. Denver Public Library had a 35% increase in customers returning to the library when fines were removed in 2018 and a 10% increase in lost materials being returned. San Francisco Public Library's 2017 amnesty period resulted in the recovery of 700,000 lost or overdue items, and more than 5,000 customer accounts were restored to good standing.

On Monday, December 12, 2022, the Houston Public Library celebrated the unveiling of an Official Texas Historical Marker from the Texas Historical Commission for the Gregory School building at the African American History Research Center (AAHRC). The dedication ceremony took place amongst the exhibits inside and culminated outside at the marker's permanent location, at the corner of Wilson and Victor streets in Freedmen's Town/Fourth Ward. 

The event began with opening remarks from Angela Kent, Senior Manager of HPL’s History Research Centers and Miguell Ceasar, AAHRC Manager and Senior Archivist. Local historian and member of the African American Library Gregory Friends (AALGS) Debra Blacklock Sloan gave an official statement on the awarding of the marker. She also thanked the local officials who sent proclamations, like State Representative Jolanda Jones.

HPL Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson gave remarks. “When I became the Director of the Houston Public Library in 2005, implementing Mayor Lee Brown’s vision for the Gregory School, now the African American History Research Center, was at the top on my list of goals,” said Dr. Lawson. “I have had the pleasure of seeing it evolve to become a significant destination in Houston, all while providing a unique window into the local and global Black experience.  Now we have a restored facility with an official State Historical Marker designation thanks in large part to the dedication of the Friends of the Gregory School. We are very thankful for their continuing support and longtime partnership.”   

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner read the text of the marker, after which it was unveiled. 

Mayor Turner said, “We come from diverse backgrounds and life experiences, but we are all here together for a common cause: to recognize the contributions of people and places like Gregory School that are sacred pillars of education and advancement within the African American community.” 

After the ceremony, attendees headed indoors for an open house and tour of the AAHRC facility.

Logo of Houston Endowment

HOUSTON – Houston Endowment awarded $500,000 to the Houston Public Library (HPL) in support of a series of archival preservation projects.  

“We greatly appreciate the generous award from Houston Endowment. These funds advance our efforts to honor Houston’s rich diversity through the preservation, accessibility, promotion, and further development of HPL’s African American and Hispanic research collections,” said Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, Director of the Library. Ann Stern, president and CEO of Houston Endowment, lauds the efforts, “We are proud to recognize organizations driving social justice and racial equity across arts, culture, history, civic engagement and education.”

HPL's goal to expand online access to materials can be achieved with significant funding for ongoing archival digitization work. Funding also provides much-needed support for the preservation and storage of physical materials. Angela Kent, Head of History Research Centers, explains, “By having funds dedicated to the collection and preservation of African American and Hispanic experiences, HPL is able to stay the course in documenting and unlocking access to our city's diverse history."


The African American History Research Center at the Gregory School (AAHRC) opened its doors in 2009 and is one of the few African American institutions in the U.S. actively collecting archival materials. Its mission to preserve and celebrate African American history is supported with a staff of professional archivists who maintain and build the collections. This highly trained staff also provides specialized skills in community archiving and knowledge of Black history for researchers. The AAHRC is still building its collections and relies on community contributions to help document and tell stories of African Americans in Houston and surrounding areas. 

HPL’s Hispanic Collections benefit from the continuous care and custody of archivists through the Houston History Research Center (HHRC), which was established in 1970. The contributions of Hispanics in every industry in the Bayou City are accounted for in over 100 collections of papers and photographs. These records, coupled with oral histories, reflect a rich tapestry of the Hispanic experience and include a significant number of materials about early Houston mutualistas (mutual aid societies), big band, Tejano, and Chicano music, the lives of Mexican Americans during World War II, and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).


Houston Endowment is a private foundation that partners with others to achieve a vibrant and inclusive region where all residents can thrive. It advances equity of opportunity through deep commitments to PreK-12 public education and civic engagement; supports cultural assets that engage and connect us; and drives sustainable change across the region.  

Lisa Carrico

The Houston Public Library stands in solidarity with the American Library AssociationTexas Library Association, and libraries of all types in denouncing censorship of library materials and resources.

Free access to information is the cornerstone of freedom, equity, and democracy and book censorship erodes these tenets that libraries have long stood for. Actions taken to restrict access to books and materials from others infringe on the First Amendment rights of our community members. Libraries manifest the promises of the First Amendment by making available the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions, and ideas, so that every person has the opportunity to freely read and consider information and ideas, regardless of their content or the viewpoint of the author.

The Houston Public Library’s collection is as rich and wide-ranging as the diversity of our customers. The fulfillment of the Houston Public Library’s mission to “Link people to the world” requires us to make every effort to provide our customers with free access to a diverse collection of materials representing diverse viewpoints. Our collection development policy is impartial with no consideration given to the potential controversy of a given title. We remain committed to providing unfettered access to information and resources.

Lisa Carrico

HOUSTON - Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Mayor's Office for Adult Literacy (MOAL), along with the Houston Public Library (HPL), hosted the return of a signature charity event, the 2022 Mayor's Literacy Breakfast: A Salute to Adult Literacy. Erica Simon, ABC13 Houston Anchor/Reporter served as the event’s Mistress of Ceremonies.

Astros Manager Dusty Baker served as the event’s honorary chair, and Mayor Turner announced the baseball legend’s new role, serving as the City of Houston’s first Ambassador for Adult Literacy. To view Dusty Baker’s Ambassador for Adult Literacy public service announcement, visit

With the theme of saluting literacy advocates, honorees were feted at the breakfast. The honorees included long-time literacy consultant Margaret Doughty, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation (BBHLF) and the CITGO Petroleum Corporation. Mayor Turner presented awards to each honoree in recognition of their support for adult literacy in Houston.

During his remarks, Mayor Turner spoke about MOAL’s impact on improving adult literacy in Houston and making a difference in the lives of countless individuals.

“I thank Dusty Baker for accepting my invitation to serve as Ambassador for Adult Literacy. His partnership with MOAL will enhance the team’s ability to continue making a difference in our community. Since its inception, MOAL has increased literacy rates and transformed lives. The work is significant because low literacy affects families and every area of the economy. We are making systemic change, and we need people like Dusty and corporate partners to help more people learn to read, write and seize opportunities for employment and education.” 
The Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy, the only mayoral office of its kind in the United States, was established in 2019 by Mayor Turner in partnership with CITGO Petroleum Corporation. Administered by HPL, MOAL focuses on enhancing adult literacy services and awareness of its impact on our economy, communities, families, and individuals. In 2021, MOAL partnered with BBHLF to publish the Houston Adult Literacy Blueprint, a strategic plan to address low adult literacy rates in Houston.
“Now is the time to celebrate what the Mayor's Office for Adult Literacy has achieved in just three years and to look towards the future,” said Houston Public Library Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson. “There is so much potential that can be unlocked through this important, hopeful work.”

HOUSTON (Sept. 8, 2022) – More than 350 third-grade students representing 391 schools from 11 school districts across the Houston area (Aldine ISD, Alief ISD, Alvin ISD, Channelview ISD, Cleveland ISD, Crosby ISD, Cy-Fair ISD, Houston ISD, Pasadena ISD, Spring ISD, Stafford MSD) celebrated the launch of the Read to the Final Four program during a launch ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 8 at the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza at the Houston Public Library. The annual literacy initiative is led by the 2023 NCAA® Men’s Final Four and Houston Local Organizing Committee (HLOC).

To engage Houston area youth and leave a lasting, positive impact on students, the NCAA and HLOC teamed up to promote and inspire reading growth for third graders through a year-long, citywide reading initiative. The program centers around a tournament-style reading competition for thousands of Houston third graders.

The Read to the Final Four's purpose is to promote and inspire reading for third graders through a fun and engaging bracket-style competition. Schools compete as third-grade teams and earn points based on a formula that calculates the average minutes read per school. Top schools in each district advance throughout the rounds winning prizes and having fun along the way.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to entice young minds to read through Read to the Final Four, an innovative, fun program. The last time the Men’s Final Four was in Houston, in 2016, we had one school district participate. The growth of the program speaks to our educators’ passion for literacy and the belief in its ability to positively impact the future of our city’s youth,” said Dorita Hatchett, Senior Director of Community Relations at the Houston Local Organizing Committee.

About the 2023 NCAA Men’s Final Four®

Houston will host the 2023 Men’s Final Four® from March 31 through April 3, 2023. Houston Baptist University, Rice University, Texas Southern University and the University of Houston will make history as the first quartet of institutions to host the Final Four. Games will be played on April 1 and April 3 at NRG Stadium. The city of Houston is hosting the event for the fourth time, having previously crowned national champions in 1971, 2011 and 2016. For more information, visit

MEDIA CONTACTS: Nick Scurfield,, 832-713-2600 Shelby Janik,, 281-705-574

Lisa Carrico

Angela Kent - HPL Head of History Research Centers/Special Collections, Mr. Bobby Banks - Assistant Treasurer, African American Library – Gregory Friends, Miguell Ceasar - Manager, The African American Library at the Gregory School, Hope Waobikeze - HPL Chief Financial Officer/Assistant Director of Finance, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Dubose - Assistant Director, African American Library – Gregory Friends

The Houston Public Library received a $150,000 donation from the African American Library - Gregory Friends for the purchase of much needed archival compact shelving.

The new compact shelving will support HPL’s growing African American archival collections. Since its opening in 2009, the African American Library at the Gregory School has collected and preserved thousands of historic items from the Houston African American community. Proper storage of unique materials will help ensure that Houston’s African American experience and history remain accessible for generations to come.

Gregory School Manager, Miguell Ceasar, expressed gratitude for the gift. “We are so pleased to accept this donation that will provide us with the opportunity to invest in the infrastructure of our African American archives and continue this vital work.”

Organized in 2017, the African American Library – Gregory Friends is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that functions as the support group for the African American Library at the Gregory School, a special collections unit of the Houston Public Library system. Its vision is to "assist and promote the African American Library-Gregory School (AAL-GS) to be recognized as a premier place to see, learn, acquire and preserve the rich historical accomplishments of African-Americans in Texas and the surrounding states."

For more information about the African American Library at the Gregory School, browse the Gregory School Digital Archives, take a virtual tour, and subscribe to the HPL Special Collections newsletters.

Lisa Carrico

Applications are now open for the Liftoff Houston Startup Business Plan Competition, where three winners will each receive $10,000 in seed money to fund their dreams of entrepreneurship. Applications must be received by 2 p.m. on Friday, August 19.  

The competition, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is sponsored by Capital One Bank and administered by the Houston Public Library (HPL) and the Office of Business Opportunity (OBO). Since its inception, Capital One has invested more than $280,000 in startup funding to winners in three categories – Innovation, Product and Service. 

“For 10 years, Liftoff Houston has empowered participants to achieve financial mobility through entrepreneurship,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “They have become key drivers to the success of Houston’s economy, and they have contributed to our communities by creating jobs and by providing much-needed goods and services.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner, joined by HPL Deputy Director Nicole Robinson, Capital One Bank Market President Yasmin Huebinger, and OBO Director Marsha Murray, recognized Liftoff Houston alumni who have grown their businesses past the startup phase: 2019 Service Category winner Sherhara Downing of SpeakHaus and business partner Christa Clarke, 2016 Service Category winner Jennifer Thai of Awesome Bites Co., and 2018 Innovation Category winner Alphonso Roundtree of Social Bevy.

To be eligible for the competition, applicants must live and operate their businesses within the city limits of Houston. The business should be for-profit, in operation for less than one year, and have verifiable revenue that does not exceed $10,000. Those who are not eligible to compete can participate in the Educational Pathway, which allows access to all educational and mentorship components of the program. 

Upon acceptance into Liftoff Houston, participants attend workshops over a 4-month period that cover essential business topics including business planning, marketing, financing and pitching. Participants also receive additional support by professional mentors from SCORE Houston and Capital One Bank to further refine their business plans, which are required to advance to the final round of the competition. The event culminates to Pitch Day on November 5, where three businesses in each contest category are selected to present their business plan to a panel of judges. All who fulfill requirements of the Educational Pathway receive a certificate of completion. 

“This year’s milestone competition will prove to be another exciting year of opportunity for Houstonians who are ready to move their plans of business ownership forward,” said HPL Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson. “We are pleased to join OBO, Capital One and a host of other partners in supporting their development and dreams through the provision of free library services and access to business and investment reference resources, state-of-the-art technology, and high-speed Wi-Fi.”

Since its inception, more than 15,000 individuals have participated in Liftoff Houston. Of all competition finalists, 27 winners have started businesses in retail, merchandise, labor, consulting, software, hardware, market businesses, hospitality, tourism, health and fitness, education, finance, technology, and logistics. 

Data collected from the 2021 competition showed Liftoff Houston made an impact in populations that have been historically marginalized. Of all participants, 96% identified as people of color, 70% were female, 56% had no college degree, and 41% made below $30,000. 

In 2021, all winners were women:

•    Alina Kravchenko of TonerBum (Innovation), a patented glute and leg-toning dumbbell ergonomically designed to fit behind the back of the leg; 
•    Krystle Hodge of SafetyKay, LLC (Product), comprising safety kits and videos that teach children critical safety skills; and 
•    Clara Orlean of ClaraTech (Service), in-person technology training that assists older adults with technology consulting sessions and workshops.  

“As we celebrate a decade of Liftoff Houston, we look forward to making an even greater impact for Houston’s aspiring entrepreneurs,” said OBO Director Marsha Murray. “This competition will provide you with a clear roadmap to help you achieve your goals of succeeding as a small business owner.”

To apply for Liftoff Houston, go to You can follow @liftoffhouston on Facebook and Instagram.

Lisa Carrico

Stars, Mars & Galaxies On the Go with NASA Award

Picture of space and astronaut


We are pleased to announce a grant award of $25,000 from the NASA Community Anchor Award program to support the launch of "Astronomy Dome: Linking Youth to the Universe," a mobile planetarium experience. The initiative aims to increase access to educational and STEM centered programming implemented throughout the greater Houston area by HPL’s Community Engagement Team and Youth Services librarians.

HPL’s Community Engagement Team is always on the move, delivering library services to communities, through its fleet of vehicles equipped with cutting-edge, essential technology. With "Astronomy Dome," specialized NASA programming is now part of this strategic outreach. HPL’s wide-ranging resources and tools utilized by dedicated Neighborhood Library staff serving students and young learners are enhanced by a curriculum that focuses on Mars, galaxies and astrobiology.

NASA’s generous support of this project aligns with HPL’s mission: We Link People to the World. HPL Deputy Director Nicole Robinson expresses gratitude and enthusiasm for the funding that uses libraries as a connector, “to spark an interest in space exploration and scientific careers, as well as inspire youth to aim for the stars.” The mobile planetarium experience is geared toward youth in grades K-12, and efforts to reach the target population extend to HPL Neighborhood Library locations and designated Houston Complete Communities. In addition to the purchase of items, such as telescopes for “Star Party” events, staff have access to training opportunities through the Anchor Award program.

NASA selects a diverse group of projects from museums, science centers, library systems and other informal education organizations across the country as NASA Informal Education Community Anchors. The projects receive Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions (TEAM II) Community Anchor Awards. Designation as a community anchor recognizes an institution as a local community resource. Projects bring space exploration to traditionally underserved areas and broaden student participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

For more information about the Houston Public Library’s Community Engagement services, visit or call 832-393-1533.

To learn more about the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions Program, please visit:

Field is required.