Due to the current restrictions on public gatherings, the Houston Public Library is unable to offer our traditional performance-based and class-based Summer Reading program.  Brainstorming has resulted in an alternative we think you and your family will enjoy throughout the months of June, July, and August:  storywalks around town, online performances by professional entertainers, community scavenger hunts, virtual storytimes, and Summer STEAM Bags, focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math & Music.

For the moment, many of these activities are still in the planning stages. However, our Summer STEAM Bags will first be available for pick-up every week on Wednesday mornings, starting on June 10th, from 11:15 to 11:45 am in the Cross of Christ Lutheran Church parking lot, as the library participates in one of three weekly Meet Up & Eat Up Free Meal distributions for local kids 18 and under. Any “leftover” kits will be placed outside the library next to our curbside pick-up table, for families to access on their own schedules while supplies last.

Each week, in our Summer STEAM Bags, we’ll provide you with a variety of activities based on a new theme, along with most of the materials needed.  Other common school supplies may be required, such as tape, glue, markers, crayons, scissors, etc.  If you do not have these materials, please let us know and we will arrange to get them to you. Our goal is to do our share keeping area kids entertained, educated, and engaged during the upcoming 13 weeks of summer in which many events, programs, and community resources will be cancelled or closed — and to do so in a safe and contact-free manner for the health of both patrons and staff.

Most activities in our STEAM Bags can be successfully done by elementary school students on their own, but some activities (and some kids!) will require supervision. Parents, please make sure you offer help when needed.  Many bags contain small parts that are not suitable for very young children.  As always, the library and the city of Houston cannot be held responsible for the use of these materials.

Take pictures of your kids and their projects so we can share them with our patrons and our community!  Email them to the library at hpublib@gmail.com or send them to us via our Facebook page (Houston MN Public Library).  Every week this summer, we’ll be giving away a $10 Houston Bucks gift certificate to one of our photo entries, chosen at random.  We’ll also be placing a coupon for a free ice cream cone at Sub Zero in ten random bags every week.  Send us a photo of your child and their favorite flavor if you win! In addition, keep an eye on our social media pages for storywalks, community scavenger hunts, etc. this summer.

Remember to keep your kids reading!  To order library materials for curbside pick-up:  call 507-896-7323, email hpublib@gmail.com, send us a private message on Facebook, or order online at www.houston.lib.mn.us.  Pick-up times are M/W/F from 10-2 pm and T/TH from 3-7 pm.  We’ll be happy to do some“personal shopping” here at the library for you and your family if you desire. Don’t currently have a library card?  Give us a call and we’ll set one up by phone.

Finally, our thanks go out to all our sponsors who are making our revised 2020 Summer Reading Program possible:  a Bright Ideas Grant from the Houston Area Community Foundation and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, the Friends of the Library, SELCO Legacy grants through the Minnesota’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and Sub Zero Pizza and Ice Cream, as well as a partnership with Cross of Christ Church and the Meet Up & Eat Up organization. Special thanks to Friend of the Library, Ann Markegard, for putting endless time and her considerable talents into the creation of these Summer STEAM Bags.

Questions? As always, give us a call at 896-READ!

Closed for Memorial Day

The Houston Public Library will be not be offering curbside service and home delivery on Monday, May 25th in observance of Memorial Day. Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone.

Curbside Service!

Effective Thursday, May 14th, the Houston Public Library will be resuming curbside service for our patrons! Hours of operation will be Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 10 am to 2 pm and on Tuesday/Thursday from 3 pm to 7 pm. Materials may be ordered online at www.houston.lib.mn.us, by calling us at 896-7323, by emailing hpublib@gmail.com, or by sending us a private Facebook message.

When your order is ready, you will be contacted by phone to let you know that your items are ready for pick-up. Call us before you plan to stop by and retrieve your items during the hours listed above, so we can have them checked out, bagged, and labeled. We will place them outside our front door on a table for easy access, as patrons will not be allowed in the library building until further notice. If you live within Houston’s city limits and need home delivery, please let us know and we will make arrangements to accommodate you.

Remember, we will be happy to find 20 picture books for your toddler, a large-print romance or two for your housebound mother, some graphic novels for your tween, or a new mystery series on audio for you. . . just let us know how we can best help you! And of course, if you prefer to use our regional digital collection, just go to meet.libbyapp.com.

Questions about curbside service or any other library issue? Feel free to contact us at your convenience. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible Stay healthy out there!

Library Update

A long-overdue update here at the Houston Public Library. The library board has an online meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 12th. At that time, they will consider a plan for a phased re-opening of targeted library services. More information will be posted at that time here on our Facebook page, on our website, on the front door, and on our outdoor sign. Stay tuned for developments.

In the meantime, please be aware that all due dates for materials currently checked out continue to be automatically renewed until further notice. Our drop box is open for returns. Our wifi is on 24/7 and can be accessed from the security of your car in our parking lot. And, finally, check out online resources at meet.libbyapp.com. Questions? Let us know!

Update on Library Services

Just a quick update to our patrons:  the Houston Public Library remains closed for the duration of the extended Stay-At-Home order from Governor, Walz, that is until May 4th.  While we would love to reopen curbside pick-up to serve members of our community who are self-isolating at home, staff and the library board are settling on erring on the side of caution, after much discussion. 

Current scientific studies indicate that the coronavirus can live up to 24 hours on paper and 3 days on plastic, which covers the bulk of the books and dvds in library collections system-wide.  The coming few weeks will be critical in determining the number of cases we can expect here in Minnesota before the curve begins to flatten, as well as the severity of the infection in our population.  Our little library wishes to be part of the solution in stopping this pandemic, not part of the problem in potentially transmitting it through library materials–  and for that reason, will revisit curbside service options in the near future.

In the meantime, please take advantage of SELCO’s digital library collection.  You can access ebooks and audiobooks at meet.libbyapp.com using your 13 digit library card number and your PIN.  In addition, remember that our wifi is available 24/7 from the security of your car in our parking lot.  Feel free to contact us by phone at 896-7323, by email at hpublib@gmail.com, or via a message on our Facebook page if you have any questions.   By the way, Beth and I miss you all and we look forward to seeing and serving you as soon as possible.  Fingers crossed!  In the meantime:  Stay informed, stay safe, stay home, and stay healthy, everyone.


Effective Friday, March 27th, the Houston Public Library is suspending curb-side pick-up of library materials, in order to comply with Govenor Walz’s Stay-At-Home executive order. For your safety and as well as our own, we continue to be closed to the public until further notice. Please stay informed, stay safe, stay home, and stay healthy. Questions? Please send us an email at hpublib@gmail.com.

Contactless Curbside Pick-up!

As you are most likely aware, the Houston Public Library is officially closed until further notice, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, effective Monday, March 23rd, we will be offering our patrons contactless curbside pick-up for items ordered online, by phone, or by email.

Here’s how it will work: a table will be set-up outside the library’s front door with bags labeled by patron’s last name and first initial. All items inside will already be checked out. We will call the phone number listed on your library card when your items are ready for pick-up. Hours for pick-up will be M/W/F/Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm and T/TH from 4 to 6:30 pm.

Please note that while staff will be in the library during pick-up dates and times, we will NOT answer the door and no patrons will be allowed into the library. Again, call 896-7323 or email hpublib@gmail.com with any questions or concerns. To order online, please go to www.houston.lib.mn.us. You will need your library card number and PIN to place an order. If you do not have this information, let us know and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

For individuals within the city limits who are in need of assistance, we will make home deliveries to outside locations such as a back or front porch. Please call us with requests for this service.

On a final note, remember that you can use our wifi 24/7 from the security of a parked car in our lot. To use the digital collection, go to meet.libbyapp.com!

Stay home and stay healthy, everyone!

CLOSED until further notice!

As many of you are already aware, the Houston Public Library is officially closed to the public for the foreseeable future, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff is currently working on a plan for curb-side pick up of items ordered through our online catalog (www.houston.lib.mn.us), by phone (896-READ), or by email (hpublib@gmail.com), as well as home delivery within city limits. Our concerns as we plan, obviously, are the continued safety of our staff, volunteers, and patrons. Please check our website or our FaceBook page for details in the next few days.

In the meantime, due dates of all items currently checked out have been changed system-wide to April 6th. No overdue fees will be charged during this period. Feel free to keep items at your home until further notice. You may also return materials in our outdoor drop-box. In addition, our wifi is accessible 24/7 from the security of your car in our parking lot. Finally, don’t forget about the great ebooks and audiobooks available for downloading free of charge through meet.libby.com. Need a library card to take advantage of these resources? Give us a call or send an email and we’ll set you up with a temporary card.

Stay home and stay healthy, everyone!

Library CLOSING on Wednesday, March 18th.

The Houston Public Library will be CLOSING starting on Wednesday, March 18th, as part of community health precautions during the coronavirus pandemic. We will remain open today, Monday, March 16th and tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17th from 2 to 8 pm.

We are currently working with our regional library cooperative to extend the due dates of all library items currently checked out (along with items that will be checked out today and tomorrow) until Monday, March 30th. At that time, new guidelines will be released from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Department of Education for us all to consider.

In the meantime, we are looking into safe ways to continue to serve our patrons and will perhaps be instigating programs such as porch delivery within the city of Houston and curbside pick-up during specific hours of the day. Feel free to continue ordering items through our online catalog. Also remember to make use of ebooks and audiobooks available through OverDrive through the Libby app: meet.libbyapp.com. We will also post free educational resources for parents on our Facebook page. Finally, our wifi will continue to be available 24/7 to those with their own devices from the safety of a car parked in our lot.

Questions? Give us a call at 896-READ, email us at hpublib@gmail.com, or send us a FB message. Be smart and stay safe and healthy out there!

Programming cancelled until further notice!

Following the unveiling of yesterday’s recommendations by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Houston Public Library is making changes to our programming calendar. Until further notice, all events are cancelled, including this morning’s storytime, though the library will continue to remain open for the foreseeable future.

When visiting the library, we are asking patrons to allow social distancing of 6 feet. Hand sanitizer is available at the library’s info desk, as well as at every computer station. For the safety of our community, please stay home if you or members of your family are ill.

This situation is changing rapidly and we are following the recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Heath, which can be found at https://www.health.state.mn.us/dise…/coronavirus/action.html

We will continue to update you as this situation evolves. Thank you for your cooperation. Please give us a call at 896-7323 if you have any questions.