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About Your Library

We are a dynamic organization that serves one of the largest service areas – both population and area – in the country. 2.3 million residents in the City of Houston are the primary beneficiaries of a comprehensive customer-focused service delivery strategy.

Our system is comprised of 44 public service units including 31 Neighborhood Libraries, four Regional Libraries, three Special Collection Libraries and four Express Libraries, the HPL Mobile Express and a satellite library located at the Children’s Museum of Houston. Our flagship facility, Central Library, located in downtown Houston, anchors this constellation of service points. Learn about our building for the future facility projects!

neighborhood library
Blue Ridge hpl location
Family Place Libraries is a model for both physical space and family engagement programming with a focus on early learning, early literacy and parent and caregiver education. The goal is to build a foundation for children learning in the critical first years of life with the parent as the child’s first teacher. Through the program, parents become equipped with the tools to develop their child’s social, emotional and cognitive skills so when their child enters school, the child is both ready and able to learn.

Houston Public Library’s Stimley-Blue Ridge Neighborhood Library & WIC Center is an official Family Place Library. A family-friendly design includes a large youth collection, a children’s nook, a parent learning center, toys for children, daily activities for children and a living room style lobby. The space encourages parents to interact with their child through play.

Mayor's Office For Adult Literacy

On September 17, 2019, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner officially launched the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy (MOAL.) MOAL focuses on enhancing adult literacy advocacy and awareness and its impact on our economy, communities, families and individuals. MOAL promotes awareness of, and advocates and builds capacity for, Adult Literacy and Adult Education causes and providers in the City of Houston.

The launch of the office was made possible by a generous grant from the CITGO Petroleum Corporation. Visioning and oversight of MOAL and its operations is administered by the Houston Public Library, based on the Mayor’s charge . As the 7th largest library system in the country, the Houston Public Library is a national leader with its core mission centered on service equity and promoting reading and literacy. MOAL is housed in the historic Julia Ideson Library across the street from City Hall.

Meet Our Administration

Rhea Lawson, Ph.D., Executive Director

Rhea Lawson, Ph.D., Executive Director

Dr. Lawson has served as the Executive Director of the Houston Public Library (HPL) since 2005. She is keenly focused on ensuring that public libraries in general and HPL in particular, remain essential to the quality of life in communities. The library system is continuously evolving and moving forward to a comprehensive, innovative platform of services and programs that meet the rapidly changing needs of Houston’s residents and the digital environment.


Nicole Robinson, Deputy Director, Administration

Nicole Robinson, Deputy Director, Administration

Nicole Robinson joined the City of Houston in 2007 as the director of the city’s WeCAN (Wireless Empowered Community Access Network) initiative. She previously served as the Assistant Director of Community Education and Outreach for several years, where she led new initiatives. These signature efforts supported HPL’s core priorities of literacy advancement, workforce development, technology access and instruction support for student success.


Ricardo Peralez, Deputy Director, Customer Experience

Ricardo Peralez, Deputy Director, Customer Experience

Ricardo “Rick” Peralez has a wealth of experience in both the library and technology industries. He joined HPL as Assistant Director and CTO of Digital Strategies in 2015. As Deputy Director of Customer Experience he has oversight of all library locations. Service points include Neighborhood Libraries, Regional Libraries, Special Collection Libraries, Express Libraries and HPL Mobile Express. Rick also oversees HPL’s book and media collections and online resources.  Among his responsibilities is to manage, guide and innovate HPL’s technology operations and services, including virtual library services and the Library Integrated System, while providing stellar customer service.


John Middleton, Assistant Director, Spaces

John Middleton, Assistant Director, Spaces

John Middleton rejoined HPL in 2013 and serves as Assistant Director of Spaces and Communications for HPL. John’s responsibilities include overseeing and coordinating the multiple components involved with managing HPL’s Capital Improvement Projects and budget. Additionally, he oversees facilities management and security, interfacing with the General Services Department, other City of Houston departments and offices, and community groups.


Hope O. Waobikeze, Deputy Assistant Director, Finance

Hope O. Waobikeze, Assistant Director, Finance

Hope Waobikeze has over 20 years of combined work experience in accounting, finance and leadership. She is currently the Chief Financial Officer (CFO)/Assistant Director of HPL. In her capacity, she leads the Financial Services Division to analyze, interpret and compile financial data that meet specific regulation and management requirements for both government and public accounting. She establishes and monitors accounting and financial policies and procedures for HPL as well as directs all internal and external audits.


Ophelia Gomes, Deputy Assistant Director, System-wide Programs & Community Education

Ophelia Gomes, Deputy Assistant Director, System-wide Programs & Community Education

Ophelia Gomes joined the City of Houston's Human Resources Department in 2000, and later joined the Houston Public Library in 2005. She has lead the Library HR team, the Organizational Development team and serves as a member of the Executive Leadership Team. In her current role, Ophelia is responsible for providing leadership, direction and oversight of the System-wide Program team. Additionally, she leads the Community Education & Learning team with the aim of elevating customer experience through engaging and meaningful programs and educational experiences.


Patrick Atkins, Deputy Assistant Director, Library Materials Services

Patrick Atkins, Deputy Assistant Director, Library Materials Services

Patrick Atkins is HPL’s Deputy Assistant Director of Library Materials Services and Frontline Training. Patrick joined HPL in 2007, and worked over ten years in Customer Experience before taking on the role of manager of the Library Materials Services unit. He now oversees the selection, processing and cataloging of all new materials both print and digital as well as circulation administration and Interlibrary Loan. Using this knowledge of the community and the collection, he is leading the frontline staff training program for the organization.


Laurie Covington, Statistics & Business Intelligence Manager

Laurie Covington, Statistics & Business Intelligence Manager

Laurie Covington is an experienced library professional and leader who joined Houston Public Library in 1999. She currently serves as the Statistics and Business Intelligence Manager for HPL. She uses her extensive knowledge of libraries and library operations to collect data and analyze statistical trends across the organization. She benchmarks the library industry to develop business intelligence for strategic planning and data driven decisions. Laurie also plays a lead role in HPL’s staffing and hiring processes along with COH Human Resources Department.


Antoinette Jenkins, Executive Assistant

Antoinette Jenkins, Executive Assistant

Antoinette Jenkins is the point person, providing a high-level of professionalism, customer service and management for the executive office for the Library since 2007. Antoinette has a wealth of diverse experience in Public Administration obtained through 25 years of employment with the City of Houston in several departments and in various executive administrative roles.


elimination racial and social equity barriers

In a strong act of commitment to a more equitable society, 133 public libraries across North America have signed ULC's statement on race and social equity.

As leaders of North America's public libraries, we are committed to achieving racial and social equity by contributing to a more just society in which all community members can realize their full potential. Our libraries can help achieve true and sustained equity through an international, systemic and transformative library-community partnership. Our library systems are working to achieve equity in the communities we serve by:

• Eliminating racial and social equity barriers in library programs, services, policies and practices
• Creating and maintaining an environment of diversity, inclusion and respect both in our library systems and in all aspects of our community role
• Ensuring that we are reaching and engaging disenfranchised people in the community and helping them express their voice
• Serving as a convener and facilitator of conversations and partnerships to address community challenges
• Being forthright on tough issues that are important to our communities

Libraries are trusted, venerable and enduring institutions, central to their communities and an essential participant in the movement for racial and social equity.
Download the PDF and learn more at urbanlibraries.org