Annual Fall Book Sale!

This Saturday, October 7th, the Friends of the Library will be hosting their annual Fall Book Sale in conjunction with Houston’s city-wide garage sale .  Weather permitting, we’ll be out on the sidewalk in front of the library from 8 am to noon with donated and withdrawn materials for sale.  As usual, it’s a Take-What-You-Want, Pay-What-You-Want event with all proceeds going to support our 2018 Summer Reading Program.  Questions?  Call the library at 896-READ!

The End of 2017 Summer Reading!

They say that all good things come to an end, and it’s true: our 2017 Summer Reading Program, “Build a Better World,” finishes up at 4 pm on Saturday, September 2nd.  Kids need to turn in any completed weekly reading challenges by then to be included in our final drawing of the summer for a $10 Barns & Noble gift certificate.  We’ll also be hosting one last drawing for four free ice cream cones from Sub Zero for all the kids who stop by this week and check out one last book (or two or three!)!  Questions?  Call the library at 896-READ!

Eagle Bluff StarLab Planetarium!

With the solar eclipse coming up in mid-August, we thought it might be a great time for kids in the area to learn a little more about that big mysterious world up above us in the sky!  Join us at 2 pm on Monday, August 7th at the Houston Elementary School gym for an exciting program featuring an inflatable planetarium that showcases 3,000 stars of different colors and sizes, as well as the constellations.  Space is limited to 60 people, so don’t be late!  This special Summer Reading event was paid for through a SELCO Legacy Grant through the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.  And thanks to the elementary school for providing a space big enough to hold the planetarium!  Questions?  Call the library at 896-READ!

Kids’ Drawing Class with artist Gary Harbo!

Monday, July 17th at 2 pm at the Houston Community Center,  the library will be hosting a one-hour drawing class for kids with artist Gary Harbo.  In keeping with our 2017 Summer Reading theme of “Build a Better World,” Gary will be teaching kids how to draw machines that have been invented to make the world a better place for us all.  As Gary puts it, “to build a better world in the physical sense requires machines that are designed to do powerful jobs, such as bulldozers to build roads, semi-trucks to haul products to market, tractors to plant and harvest crops, airplanes and trains to move people, as well as cranes to build schools, city buildings, and skyscrapers.”  Recommended for kids going into 2nd grade and up! This program was made possible thanks to fund from the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund through a SELCO Legacy Grant.  Questions?  Call the library at 896-READ!


Learn about music, art, magic, astronomy, volunteer projects, and more during the Houston Public Library’s special Summer Reading events this summer, as we “Build A Better World” together! All events take place in the library or outside in the library’s greenspace, unless otherwise indicated.  In case of inclement weather, some outside events will take place over at the Houston Community Center. Give us a call at 896-READ when in doubt.  And one last thing: please bring an item for the Houston Community Food Shelf if you attend one of our free events.  Let’s make our own community a better place while we’re having fun!

Monday, June 19th from 7 to 8 pmLITTLE FREE LIBRARY LAUNCH PARTY!  Thanks to a SELCO grant from the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund, we’re installing five Little Free Libraries right here in the city of Houston. Come help us celebrate with the artists who decorated them —  and a little cake, balloon-making with Kevin Lindh, and some chalk art on the side.  Take a book or make the world a better place by bringing and leaving a book!

Monday, June 26th from 7 to 8 pm: EVERETT SMITHSON BAND!  This one hour musical celebration will feature Zydeco, Blues, Hillbilly Hoedowns, and more. In addition, Everett believes in the importance of keeping the blues alive— and will do so by teaching up to 50 kids how to play the harmonica at the end of his performance in a special 30 minute class! Kids get to keep the harmonica, too!

Monday, July 3rd from 7 to 8 pm:  RECYCLED ART!  Let’s see how you can turn a bag full of recyclable objects into art! In the spirit of encouraging kids to make the world a better place by reducing, reusing, and recycling, we’ll be giving each participant a bag of mystery ingredients with which to create a work of art and just 30 minutes in which to do it.  Join in on the fun!

Monday, July 10th from 7 to 8 pm:   BOOK ART WITH PAM O’HARA!Come and learn some clever ways of making books using simple supplies! Pam will have everything assembled for you to make your own books using a little origami, some folding and gluing, and some sewing. We’ll use pretty paper, office supplies, stickers, and canceled stamps.  You’ll go home with about 5 completed small book projects  — and the inspiration and skills it takes to make many more.  Recommended for kids going into 2nd grade and up!

Monday, July 17th from 2 to 3 pm: DRAWING CLASS WITH GARY HARBO at the Community Center!  To build a better world in a physical sense requires machines that are designed to do powerful jobs, such as bulldozers to build roads, semi-trucks to haul products to market, tractors to plant and harvest crops, airplanes and trains to move people, as well as cranes to build schools, city buildings, and skyscrapers. In this one hour art lesson, Gary will teach students how to draw machines that have been invented to make a better world for all of us.  Recommended for kids going into 2nd grade and up!

Monday, July 24th from 7 to 8 pm: MAGIC SHOW WITH GREG THE GREAT!  Let’s explore the amazing world of magic together as Greg the Great levitates, causes members of the audience to float, cuts his assistant in half, and makes animals appear, disappear, reappear, and even transform! This family-friendly show features Greg’s blend of comedy and magic with lots of audience interaction.

Monday, August 7th from 2 to 3 pm: STARLAB PLANETARIUM at the elementary school gym!Ever wonder about that mysterious big world up above us in the sky? Join us for an exciting STARLAB program, featuring an inflatable planetarium that showcase 3,000 stars of different colors and sizes, as well as the constellations. Space is limited to 60 people so don’t be late!

Monday, August 14th from 7 to 8 pm:  PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER SLIDESHOW!  What’s it like to live and work as a Peace Corp volunteer in a very different part of the world? Find out as former Peace Corps Volunteers share slideshows and stories about their life-changing years of service.

Monday, August 21st from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm:  CELESTIAL EVENT/SOLAR ECLIPSE PARTY!  On August 21st, the shadow of the moon will sweep across the sun and the USA in a spectacle that hasn’t occurred in 99 years!  In celebration of the solar eclipse, we’ll be hosting a “viewing party” complete with 200 pairs of official viewing glasses, thanks to Eclipse Education Kits provided by  STAR_Net’s NASA@ My Library Initiative. Come join us in the library greenspace, weather permitting! Bring your own blanket, pillow, or chair to make your viewing experience more comfortable!

Saturday, August 26th from 10 to 11 am:  STORYTIME WITH THE APOLLO MUSIC FESTIVAL We host storytime at the library every Saturday morning from 10-11 am all year round, but we only have professional musicians and their instruments as our guests once a year — when the Apollo Music Festival is in town!  Stop by for an informal and fun way to introduce your kids to the world of classical music.  You’ll be glad you did!

This year’s Summer Reading Program is sponsored by the Friends of the Houston Public Library, a grant from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, HARC, SELCO Legacy grants, the Apollo Music Festival, Sub-Zero Pizza and Ice Cream, memorials in honor of Teresa & Banjo Erickson and Illa Sweet, and a generous donation from Jayne & Jim Gilmer.  




SUMMER READING 2017: Build A Better World

Reading is a way for all of us to escape and inhabit worlds other than the one we live in everyday. But books can also introduce us to new concepts and ideas, in turn fueling the creativity and innovation necessary to change the world we do live in. At the Houston Public Library during our 2017 Summer Reading Program, we’ll explore ways to make our world a more interesting, fun, accessible, sustainable, and beautiful place through books and activities.  We’d like to invite your kids and grandkids to participate in “Building a Better World” with us.

Every Monday afternoon or evening, we’ll be hosting special events showcasing people who have found a way to make the world a better place. You can pick up a list of events at the library or check out our Facebook page and/or website later for more information. In addition, on Thursday nights from 6 to 7 pm, we’ll have our popular Bookhound Program going on in our children’s room.  And don’t forget to look for our Book Bike as library staff pedal it around town to meet up with kids at outdoor events in town this summer, facilitating their access to reading materials during these busy months.

We are NOT doing reading logs this year (to help make the world a better place for parents and kids like), but will instead offer weekly challenges for kids that may be turned in anytime during the summer to be entered into weekly drawings for Barnes & Noble gift certificates. And remember:  starting Monday, June 5th, the first 100 kids to stop in and pick up one of these weekly challenge sheets this year will receive a free book bag!  Stop by the library while supplies last!

The Houston Public Library’s 2017 Summer Reading Program, which runs from Monday, June 5th through Saturday, August 26th, is sponsored by the Friends of the Houston Public Library, HARC, Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, SELCO’s Legacy Grant Program, Sub-Zero Pizza & Ice Cream, memorials in honor of Teresa & Banjo Erickson and Illa Sweet, and a generous donation from Jayne & Jim Gilmer. It is open to all children, preschool through young adult, with games, prizes, drawings, story hours, and more. Remember:  kids who read (or are read to) over the summer keep their brains active, entering school in the fall ready to learn and succeed.  We hope that your family will take advantage of the free materials and services provided by your local libraries over the course of this coming summer.

If you or your child would like a library card, please stop by during our regular hours of operation with your current Minnesota’s Driver’s License.  Now that we are fully automated and part of the online SELCO system, we require this piece of current photo identification from a child’s mother, father, or legal guardian to issue a library card.  By providing this information, you accept responsibility for any overdue fines, damage charges, or replacement costs that your child may incur.    Please call 507-896-READ or stop by the library at 202 East Cedar if you have any questions!




 If you stop by, walk by, or drive by the Houston Public Library anytime soon, you’ll notice we are coming to the end of a little exterior renovation project. Over the few years, we’ve experienced some periodic interior water damage due to the deteriorating brick and mortar on the south and east sides of the building, a situation aggrevated by a lack of an overhanging roof protecting those walls. As a result, we’ve long been planning to strip, insulate, add in a moisture barrier, put up siding, and extend the roof-line! The Library Board has been putting aside funds out of our operational budget for the past six years for this project — and our Friends’ group contributed as well. Back in February, Caledonia Lumber officially got started on the rehab, finishing up a few weeks later.  This past weekend, thanks to some beautiful weather and a hard-working volunteer, our outside storage shed and metal doors on the south and west sides all got a fresh coat of paint.  We still have an overhead panel to paint brown on the west side and we’d like to get another sign with our hours of operation posted on the east side, but the bulk of the work is finally completed, whew!.  With kids at storytime planting our Community Container Gardens early in May, we’ll bring this project to an end just in time to focus our energies on our 2017 Summer Reading Program. 




Here’s a list of upcoming storytime themes for this fall!  Storytime at the library is from 10 to 11 am every Saturday.
Saturday, October 15:  Spooktacular Storytime
Saturday, October 22:  Creepy Crawly Critters
Saturday, October 29:  Halloween
Saturday, November 5:  Election Day
Saturday, November 12:  Sweater Weather
Saturday, November  19:  Thanksgiving
Saturday, November  26:  Winter is Coming



The Houston Public Library opened its doors to the public in February 2002, the result of a two-year grass-roots effort led by a group of hard-working, committed volunteers. Our goal is to provide open access to cultural, intellectual, and informational resources promoting the development of independent, self-confident, and literate citizens.

In the library’s thirteen short years of existence, our annual circulation has risen from 7,239 to 34,579. In addition, we have moved from a small residential home owned by the city of Houston to a permanent location in a building donated by Ace Communications Group; run a successful fundraising campaign to pay for improvements to make our new home comply with ADA handicap accessibility requirements; joined our regional library cooperative, SELCO; cataloged and automated our collection; appeared on the cover of “The Libraries of Minnesota, “ published by the Minnesota Historical Society; run a second successful fundraising campaign, allowing us to renovate the interior of the library by our 10th birthday; and been selected as the recipient of numerous grants and awards (Libri Foundation grant, Baker & Taylor 2004 FOLSA award, Minnesota Legacy grants, United Way Venture Grants, Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation grant, etc).

Despite our limited staff and space, we are proud to host weekly Saturday morning story times, a weight management support group, a book club for adults, two knitting clubs, a seasonal kid’s chess club, our annual Summer Reading program, and the popular “Book Hounds” reading therapy dog program.

The library is currently run by Director Liz Gibson-Gasset with the support of library assistant, Beth Peterson-Lee, and volunteers Lynn Carr and Sandi Klettenberg.