Houston Public Library Foundation
The Houston Public Library system offers a wide range of services, including a library, a research center, free educational activities, a museum, and recreational facilities. It serves an area that is culturally diverse and provides access to technology and information to improve the quality of life. As a public institution, it is committed to the public good, the preservation of knowledge, and the promotion of intellectual freedom. Houston Library
The Houston Public Library system began in 1904 when the city of Houston opened its first central public library in an Italian Renaissance building in downtown Houston. A Carnegie grant funded the construction of the new library. After the completion of the library, the board of trustees renamed it the Houston Library.
As the Houston library system expanded, thirty-three branches were added, and the Houston Metropolitan Research Center was established as an archive. The HPL's mission is to provide access to knowledge and inspire people to live more meaningful lives. By focusing on the needs of the community, the HPLF connects community members to innovative programs and opportunities.
The Houston Library and Exhibition Complex was designed as a dynamic architectural proposal for the city of Houston. The complex interpolates expanded book collections with a plaza and smaller botanical gardens. Through this approach, the dynamic conditions of the surrounding community are maintained while the library's resources are accessible.
The Houston Public Library Foundation supports the mission of the Houston Library System through the development of a strategic vision and a $4 million annual budget. It also oversees an endowment that supports a variety of programs for the community. Philanthropy is key to the success of the HPLF. Some of the organizations that have donated to the foundation include:
The Houston Public Library Foundation works to improve the Houston community through education and information. It has created a partnership with the Indie Author Project, a nonprofit organization that links libraries and patrons with indie-published books. PressReader, the library's digital magazine newsstand, allows readers to access 7,000 magazines for free.
In addition to philanthropic support, the Houston Public Library also relies on the help of volunteers and the community. Volunteers can serve as board ambassadors, who work to inform the community about the library's mission and share its message. Ambassadors can also participate in special events that benefit the library. Board ambassadors are encouraged to serve as leaders and mentors in their communities.
A number of prominent figures have helped to build the Houston library system. Businessmen Edwin and Leon Houston, along with businessman and philanthropist John Nixon Wheat, all contributed funds. Other donors included the Humphreys, Moody, and Cullen Foundations. Additionally, Governor and Mrs. Price Daniel, Ann Daniel Rogers, and Will Daniel all made generous donations.
Many of the Houston library's branches are located in historically important buildings. The Sam Houston Center, for example, is a 127-acre historic complex built to provide a centralized place for regional history studies. This facility is open to the public Monday - Thursday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.