Library Administration

HPL Rhea LawsonRhea Lawson, Ph.D., Executive Director

Dr. Lawson has served as the Executive Director of the Houston Public Library (HPL) since 2005. She is keenly focused on ensuring that public libraries in general and HPL in particular, remain essential to the quality of life in communities. The library system is continuously evolving and moving forward to a comprehensive, innovative platform of services and programs that meet the rapidly changing needs of Houston’s residents and the digital environment.

HPL Elizabeth SargentElizabeth Sargent, Assistant Director, Customer Experience

Elizabeth Sargent is the Assistant Director of Customer Experience for the Houston Public Library. In this position, she is responsible for providing administrative leadership, vision and oversight for the Library’s Customer Experience Division, which includes 43 locations, Youth Services, and International Services. She joined HPL in 2008. Prior to coming to HPL Elizabeth was a High School Teacher and a Librarian/Archivist for various library organizations.

Laurie Covington, Deputy Assistant Director, Customer Experience

Laurie Covington has over 18 years of library experience with 15 years in a leadership capacity.  She currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Director of Customer Experience for the Houston Public Library.  She provides leadership and oversight for Neighborhood Libraries and the Central Library. 


HPL John MiddletonJohn Middleton, Assistant Director, Spaces and Communications

John Middleton rejoined HPL in 2013 and serves as Assistant Director of Spaces and Communications for HPL. John’s responsibilities include overseeing and coordinating the multiple components involved with managing HPL’s Capital Improvement Projects and budget, facilities management and security, interfacing with the General Services Department, other City of Houston departments and offices, and community groups. He is also responsible for HPL’s Branding, Graphic Design, Print Shop, Exhibitions, and Civic Art units.

HPL Ricardo PeralexRicardo Peralez, Assistant Director, Digital Strategies

Ricardo “Rick” Peralez has a wealth of experience in both the library and technology industries.  He joined HPL as Assistant Director of Digital Strategies in 2015. Chief among his responsibilities is to manage, guide and innovate HPL’s technology operations and services while providing stellar customer service.

HPL Ophelia GomesOphelia Gomes, Deputy Assistant Director, Organizational Development

Ophelia Gomes is HPL’s Deputy Assistant Director of Organizational Development. She is responsible for the oversight of HPL’s Training and Professional Development, Volunteer Services, and Employee Safety and Wellness sections. Ophelia has over 18 years of professional human resource experience and has led, developed and delivered initiatives to improve employee engagement, employee retention and  leadership development. Ophelia has held human resource management positions at HPL since 2005.

HPL Nicole RobinsonNicole Robinson, Assistant Director, Community Education, Outreach and Cultural Initiatives

Nicole Robinson joined the City of Houston in 2007 as the director of the city’s WeCAN (Wireless Empowered Community Access Network) initiative. In her current role, she leads new initiatives and signature efforts in support of HPL’s core priorities of literacy advancement, workforce development, technology access and instruction support for student success.

HPL Hope WaobikezeHope O. Waobikeze, Deputy Assistant Director, Finance

Hope Waobikeze has over 20 years of combined work experience in accounting, finance and leadership. She is currently the Chief Financial Officer (CFO)/Deputy Assistant Director of HPL. In her capacity, she leads the Financial Services Division to analyze, interpret and compile financial data that meet specific regulation and management requirements for both government and public accounting. She establishes and monitors accounting and financial policies and procedures for HPL as well as directs all internal and external audits.

HPL Antoinette JenkinsAntoinette Jenkins, Executive Assistant, Library Director

Antoinette Jenkins is the point person, providing a high-level of professionalism, customer service and management for the executive office for the Library since 2007. Antoinette has a wealth of diverse experience in Public Administration obtained through 25 years of employment with the City of Houston in several departments and in various executive administrative roles. 

HPL Naomi CrawfordNaomi Crawford, Executive Assistant, Administration Deputy Director

Naomi Crawford has been a member of the Library Administration Division in the Office of the Deputy Director of Administration since 2013.  In this role, she provides support for administration of Special Events which includes the Employee Holiday Celebration, National Library Worker’s Day and Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). Prior to joining the HPL team, Naomi served as a Community Affairs Professional with almost 20 years of experience at USAA, a Fortune 150 Company. 

HPL Leah Fraser

Leah Fraser, Executive Assistant, Customer Experience Deputy Director

Leah Fraser joined the Library Administration Division in the Office of the Deputy Director of Customer Experience in 2015. She provides support for the Customer Experience Division as a whole, and oversees several large scale projects and initiatives. She also supports HPL's executive leadership team. She began working for the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Communications in 2009 and served as an executive administrator under the last two mayors.


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