Celebrate National Library Week

Share your library stories

Portion of "ART/LIFE," a painting by award-winning artist Bert L. Long Jr. in the Children’s Area of the Houston Public Library Looscan Neighborhood Library.

Did you know that the Houston Public Library (HPL) receives nearly 5 million visits every year, with an additional 5 million visits to our website? We serve customers every day, including business owners, students, artists, travelers, educators, job seekers, filmmakers, parents and grandparents, and, of course, music, movie & book lovers… and that’s just to name a few!

Did you know that “there are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S.—a total of 16,604 including branches”? (Source: American Library Association) National Library Week is celebrated April 8-14 to spotlight the contributions of libraries everywhere.

Every day libraries impact the lives of our customers, from small joys to big achievements. Here are just a few examples:

World-renowned artist Bert Long, Jr. credits HPL with improving and enhancing his knowledge of art. “I checked out 14 art books at a time,” Long recalls. Prior to his “education” through the library, he only had one high-school course in art. Through library books he studied what other artists had done, carefully reviewing the work of the masters, developing new techniques and improving his knowledge. Then his art began to sell. An example of his artwork can be found in the Looscan Neighborhood Library, which houses one of his exceptional murals in the children’s area. See Long’s story in the 2009 Annual Report.

Local businesswoman and cooking sensation Faye Powers credits HPL with helping her launch and manage a successful catering business, without any formal training. Powers began by checking out books on home-catering businesses and the rules and regulations of operating a commercial kitchen. She moved on to videos that showed her everything from the proper chopping techniques to advanced food preparations… then she launched her business. After nearly a decade of running a successful business, she still relies on the library to research new recipes to use as inspiration. See Powers’ story in the 2009 Annual Report.

Photographer Aeryk Williams credits HPL as an early influence in his work: “Houston Public Library has played a major role in my work. The best thing about it was its location; it gave me a reason to go downtown and see things I normally wouldn’t. The collection of books they have is vast and I remember checking out up to 20 books at a time. ” (Source: Library as Incubator project)

Customers enjoy the benefits of HPL every day, including:

@browning3s: “Thanks @HoustonLibrary – Sam just turned in his 1st ever real-deal research paper & the aid & materials he got at Central were big help!”
@John_Pijanowski: “Love Google but @houstonlibrary is where I learned to love books and find answers to hard questions #ilovehoustonlibrary”

Need more inspiration? Check out the #ilovehoustonlibrary tweets we received during Library Lovers Month.

Do you have a story about how the library has impacted your life?  We invite you to share your story through the comments below and join us in celebrating National Library Week!


    My fondest memories of the downtown Houston Public Library as a child are of rushing to the escalator to hit the bottom floor where the room full of children’s books were found. I used to feel like I was in a hidden cave and would grab any book just to sit on the odd shaped, colorful cushions to read. Now, as an adult, my fondest memories are of the annual Friends of the Library book sale at the GRB. I add it to my calendar every year and count the days!

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