Story Strolls

Have you been keeping up with the library’s Story Strolls? We’ve been hosting them around the city of Houston this summer to keep kids and their families active, outside, and reading, all at the same time. We started over at the Houston Nature Center with “Up, Down, & Around” by Katherine Ayres, then moved to Cross of Christ Church with “Mixed: A Colorful Story” by Arree Chung. Currently, we are hosting “Good Morning Yoga: A Pose-By-Pose Wake Up Story” by Mariam Gates in front of Valley View Healthcare & Rehab. Starting on Monday, August 17th, we’ll be moving on over to the elementary school with the book, “All Are Welcome Here” by Alexandra Penfold. Weather permitting, we’ll keep setting up Story Strolls into fall. Stay tuned here or go to our Facebook page for more details


Appointments Available to Browse Our Collection or Use Computers!

Junie and Aurora were in this morning doing their own book shopping. It actually feels like a party hosting patrons inside the library — and it is so heartwarming to see everyone, no matter their age, graciously cooperate with wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and following social distancing in the building so that we can continue to open the doors to the public during this pandemic. Make YOUR appointment to come in and browse our collection or use the computers by calling 896-7323, sending us an email at, contacting us via a private Facebook message, or simply knocking on our front door during hours of operation! The library is currently open M/W/F from 10-2 pm and T/TH from 3-7 pm. For the record, we are still offering curbside service and home delivery within city limits. Hope to see you soon.

Story Strolls Coming Your Way!

Get ready! Get Set! Let’s Story Stroll with the Houston Public Library!

What in the world is a Story Stroll? Well, imagine that you and your children are out walking from the Houston Nature Center down to our new Natural Playground — and all along the way, you keep coming across pages from a children’s picture book, each page laminated and mounted in a metal frame in the ground. Before you know it, you’re reading a story as you stroll!

The concept of a Story Stroll was developed in 2007 by Anne Ferguson in Montpelier, Vermont, whose goal was “to combine three critical elements for overall family health: early literacy learning, family engagement outdoors, and physical activity.” According to Houston Public Library Director, Liz Gibson-Gasset, a Story Stroll is a fun and pandemic appropriate addition to the library’s summer activities this year. “We couldn’t be more excited about this wonderful opportunity to support literacy and encourage outdoor activity that lends itself to social distancing.”

On our first Story Stroll this summer beginning the week of July 6th, we’ll be reading “Up, Down, and Around” by Katherine Ayres. Weather permitting, our Story Stroll will stay up along the sidewalk at the Nature Center for two weeks, so families can continue to enjoy the fun on their own convenience. Similar Story Strolls with different book titles will take place around the city of Houston this summer. Stay tuned to our website at, our Facebook page (Houston MN Public Library), and our local newspaper, the Houston Banner, for more information. For the record, our 2020 Summer
Reading Program was made possible due to funding from the Friends of the Library, Houston Area Community Foundation, Sub Zero Pizza & Ice Cream, and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Questions about this or any other library project? Give us a call at 896-READ!

Summer STEAM Bags still available!

If you missed our Wednesday launching of our Summer STEAM Bags, no worries! There are still bags available during our hours of curbside pick-up while supplies last: M/W/F from 10 am to 2 pm and T/TH from 3-7 pm. Our theme this week was NATURE. Get ready for some musical fun next week.

The library will be handing out bags every Wednesday in June, July, and August in the east parking lot of Cross of Christ Church from 11:15 to 11:45 am as part of this year’s Meet Up, Read Up, and Eat Up free lunch program. Questions? Give us a call at 896-READ!

Computers and Browsing By Appointment!

Starting Monday, June 15th, library patrons will be able to use the computers and browse our collection by appointment only. Please call 896-7323 to set up a day and time to visit. We will continue to offer curbside pick-up and home delivery within city limits for our patrons as well. For the foreseeable future, our hours of service continue to be: M/W/F from 10 am to 2 pm and T/TH from 3-7 pm.


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 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, send us a private message on Facebook, or order online at  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, by calling us at 896-7323, by emailing, 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

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 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 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, 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.