The Houston Public Library (HPL) will restore Saturday service to 14 neighborhood libraries for the first time in three years, bringing the total of branches open on Saturdays to 41.
That’s nearly all the HPL branches: HPL operates 35 neighborhood libraries, four HPL Express Libraries and one HPL Mobile Express, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, The African American Library at the Gregory School, and the Parent Resource Library located in the Children’s Museum of Houston. And of course the Central Library, which will now be open seven days a week.
“The most frequent request we receive from Houston Public Library customers is to restore library hours on the weekends so more families can access their neighborhood library,” said HPL Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson. “The very best way we can serve the citizens of Houston is to provide access to services when they most need us.”
Said Mayor Annise Parker, “We have emerged from… tough times and are now able to celebrate another major milestone in our recovery. Not only are we restoring public services, we are adding staff.” She doesn’t mean just a few, either: the HPL is hiring 109 new staff members. The first job postings have already gone up, and service hours will be restored in phases beginning April 1, as the new staff is hired and trained. Said Lawson, “We are working to finalize the new schedules and will announce them soon.”
The restoration is funded by a $3.1 million addition to the HPL budget. A portion of the additional funding is expected in the current budget year from a General Appropriation request in April, and full funding will be included in the HPL FY14 budget.