COVID-19 Closure FAQs

Closure Questions:
Why is the library closed to the public?
Can I place holds on books at this time?

Account Questions:
How do I sign up for a library card?
My books are due.  What should I do?
I returned my items yesterday. Why are the items still listed on my account? 
My Library Card is expired or about to expire.  How can I renew my account?
I don’t have my PIN number.  What should I do?

Service Questions:
Are you offering curbside service so we can pick up holds? 
I am staying home and want to access HPL’s online resources.  
My child is a student. What resources are available to them? 
Is there Wi-Fi outside of libraries?  
Can I come in to the library to get my passport application processed?
Can meeting rooms be reserved during this time?
I have books that I want to donate.  Can I drop them off at the Library?


Why is the library closed to the public? 
The safety of our customers and staff is the number one priority of the Houston Public Library. With the COVID-19 outbreak still a community concern, we made the difficult decision to close our libraries to the public and cancel programs and events to take precaution against the spread of COVID-19 and protect staff and customers. Our phased re-opening plan began on June 1st with curbside pick-up through our HPL TO GO service.  Staff are available to answer reference questions during curbside hours of operation. Please visit the library’s website for a list of virtual programming, and to see a list of online resources you can access from home. 

Can I place holds on books at this time?
Customers may place holds on library materials through the library’s online catalog or the HPL app for pickup by appointment at one of our HPL TO GO locations. Please note: it may take up to two weeks for the item to be ready for pickup if that item is being transferred from another location. 

How do I sign up for a library card?  
Please go to the Get a MY Link Card page and sign up.  Any Texas Resident can get a card.  Non-Residents may purchase a one-year membership.  You can get instant access to our online resources with our online registration.  While the library is closed due to COVID-19, parents can sign up their children for an online e-card to access Houston Public Library e-resources. 

My books are due. What should I do? 
You may return books at any of our book drops. For your peace of mind, no new late fees and fines will be assessed during the closure period, retroactive to March 14, 2020. If you have Interlibrary Loan books checked out, please note that Houston Public Library cannot extend due dates beyond what the lending library allows. Interlibrary Loan books may be returned in any HPL book drop on their due date. 

I returned my items yesterday. Why are the items still listed on my account? 
All items returned during this time will be placed in quarantine for 7 days. It may take up to 9 days for returned items to be removed from your account. There will be no fines or late fees until further notice.

My Library Card is expired or about to expire. How can I renew my account?  
Until further notice, expired library cards will be renewed automatically. Please call 832-393-1313 for questions about your account.  

I don’t have my PIN number.  What should I do?  
Use the Did you forget your PIN? Link when you click "Log In" through the library’s website. You can also call 832-393-2222 Monday-Friday 10am to 5pm for assistance.  

Are you offering curbside service so we can pick up holds? 
As of October 12, 2020, HPL TO GO by appointment is available at the following locations: Bracewell, Central (walk up only), Collier, Heights, Henington-Alief, Hillendahl, Jungman, Looscan, Park Place, Robinson-Westchase, Scenic Woods, Shepard-Acres Homes, Stanaker, McGovern-Stella Link, Tuttle, and Young during the following times:

Mondays 12 PM – 7 PM 
Tuesdays 12 PM - 4 PM 
Wednesday 9 AM - 4 PM 
Thursdays 12 PM - 4 PM 
Friday 9 AM – 4 PM
Saturday 10 AM – 4 PM

Coming soon to: Moody, Smith, Blue-Ridge, Johnson, and Walter locations starting on November 16th.

I am staying home and want to access HPL’s online resources.  
HPL has a robust collection of online resources that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You can find resources including e-books, e-audiobooks, streaming music and videos, online learning, online tutoring, and much more.    

My child is a student. What resources are available to them?
Children enrolled in Houston ISD and Alief ISD have Learning Link cards that enables them to use our online resources.  See the Learning Link FAQ page for more information and instructions about using the student card.  If you need help accessing online resources, you can contact Telephone Reference (832-393-1313) or Circulation Administration (832-393-2222) Monday – Friday 10 AM to 5 PM.  

Is there Wi-Fi outside of libraries?  
Wi-Fi will continue to be available outside all of our libraries. Please continue to practice social distancing, especially as HPL TO GO locations are seeing increased activity at their entrances.  

Can I come in to the library to get my passport application processed?  
When the library re-opens, passport services will resume.  Passport acceptance facilities across the country have suspended services.  Please visit the State Department website to find a location that may still be open.

Can meeting rooms be reserved during this time?
Currently, meeting rooms are not available for reservations while our locations remain closed to the public. Please check back for any updates.  

I have books that I want to donate.  Can I drop them off at the Library? 
We ask that you do not bring donations to our locations.  Please hold on to them until the library resumes full services.