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The Houston Public Library (HPL) received $75,000 in funding from The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) under its Special Projects Grant program. HPL will use the funds to expand its Career Online High School (COHS) program by providing tuition, computers and internet access to 30 new program participants in FY23. COHS is a SACS-accredited high school completion program offered in partnership with Smart Horizons and Workforce Solutions. The program helps individuals 21 and older who have completed a minimum of eighth grade earn a high school diploma and prepare for the workforce. 

"Students who want to complete their high school diploma shouldn't have to deal with the burden of extra costs. These funds will allow more students to achieve this milestone and gain other opportunities," said HPL Community Engagement Division Manager Mercedes Clarke.  

Prospective COHS students can access the online application at The deadline to apply for scholarship money is December 30, 2022. For further information, prospective students may contact HPL's cafécollege at 832-393-1737.

This project is one of 43 made possible this year by a grant awarded to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act. “Communities in every corner of Texas will benefit from the resources that have been made available through this list of forward-thinking grant proposals.” said TSLAC Director and Librarian Mark Smith. The Special Projects Grant supports programs seeking to expand library services to include all members of a library’s community, including those populations with special needs. “We are grateful to the IMLS and the federal government for providing this assistance to libraries across Texas as they support their communities in these challenging times,” said Smith.  

Additional TSLAC support to the Houston Public Library includes $10,000 from the Texas Reads Grant allocated to HPL’s Summer Reading Program and $25,000 from the TexTreasures Grant designated for a digitization project of the African American History Research Center. These projects are made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (Grant #LS-252486-OLS-22) to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act. (2023) 


Formed in 1909, TSLAC is committed to giving Texans access to information and programs to improve their lives and communities. TSLAC provides historical and genealogical search assistance, federal and state government documents, electronic research, and library services to all Texans, including those who are unable to read standard print material because of physical or reading disabilities. For more information, visit

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

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