It's Worth The Wait!
Houston Public Library Central Building closes April 3rd

rendering of proposed exterior renovation

The HPL Central Library, 500 McKinney St., is closing to the public for renovation on Monday, April 3, 2006.

Beginning April 3rd, the public is encouraged to use any of the library's 36 neighborhood branches.

Limited library service will be available at HPL Express Downtown (Julia Ideson Building, across the plaza from the Central Library).

The HPL Express Downtown hours of operation are Monday - Saturday 9 am - 6 pm.

For more information about Library services and to find the Library location nearest you, call 832-393-1313 or visit us at


Grants Help Pasadena Public Library Grow

The Brown Foundation, a well-known Houston philanthropic foundation, has recently made a sizeable downpayment towards the upgrade and expansion of the Pasadena Public Library's central library building. The Brown Foundation’s $250,000 grant announced on February 28 will provide a significant step in bringing the facility up-to-date on repairs and improvements.

The foundation’s support now makes it possible for work to begin on improvements and give our fundraising efforts much needed momentum. The City of Pasadena has contracted the architectural firm of Danby and Miller, to design and oversee the project.

describeEarlier this year, the Pasadena Public Library used Texas READ Grant funds to provide programming for infants and toddlers who are participating in the program with their parents as we do endeavor to “get them while they’re young!”

We have also scheduled programs in March and April to promote the love of reading and encourage lifelong library use.

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Ask a Librarian Chat Reference Services at HPL

Houston Public Library began offering online Chat Reference Services approximately four year ago, primarily to serve and provide backup reference to other librarians in the Houston Area Library System (HALS).

Since then, chat reference has grown from 20 hours to 45 hours of service per week, and from 2 to 3 chat sessions per month to over 140 sessions per month. Moreover, most reference librarians at the Central Library, as well as a few at the Branches, have been trained to monitor chat reference.

From the inception of chat reference we have been using QuestionPoint, an OCLC product. This product allows us to "push" Web pages to customers and also to co-browse Web pages. Many of our customers are very pleased with the immediacy of the service and appreciate not having to wait on hold for phone assistance. It allows them to multi-task as they wait for an answer or resource.

Shortly, we will be joining a cooperative Chat Reference effort with Harris County Public Library and Fort Bend County Public Library. Once the plans are finalized we will have access to QuestionPoint's 24/7 network permitting us to provide chat reference service to customer's in the Greater Houston area, 24 hours a day 7 days a weeks, as well as, 65 hours of chat service in Spanish.