A Library Without Walls: HCPL's eBranch Brings the Library to You

Teenager on Laptop by Ingo Barnhardt Spree2010 via Flickr Creative CommonsA lot of people when they think of libraries think of ivy-covered buildings and grandmotherly staff wearing their reading glasses like necklaces. Fewer people perhaps think of fiber optic cables and cyber-librarians. Harris County Public Library combines both ideas in its eBranch. Customers get the personalized service of the traditional library model with online convenience.

As the name suggests eBranch can be thought of as a typical branch library, but one that can’t be found on any map. Instead it is as close as the nearest laptop, smartphone or tablet.

Almost any library service that customers can find at their local branch can now be found online--any time they need it.  “EBranch offers online services to HCPL customers 24/7/365,” says eBranch Librarian, Grace Lillevig.

If this sounds impersonal, it’s not.  The personalized service and expertise that HCPL customers have come to expect is right there on the website. Free services available from eBranch include:

EBranch’s roster of services continues to grow. It has moved into the world of social networking, “We are always exploring ways to expand eServices beyond the website,” says Lillevig. “Facebook, Twitter and Yelp! just widen the avenues of interaction between the library and its customers enjoyed in the traditional brick-and-mortar version.”

Of course, when you want to leisurely browse the shelves, meet friends or just relax in a friendly atmosphere, Harris County Public Library’s twenty-six neighborhood branches will always be there for you.

Photo Credit: Teenager on Laptop by Ingo Barnhardt/Spree2010 via Flickr Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Laptop in the parc by Mark Skipper (bitterjug) via Flickr Creative Commons



I am a very heavy user of the

I am a very heavy user of the eBranch, and although I'll never stop loving the SBM branch (which I've been visiting regularly since childhood), I really have to commend you guys for putting together such a friendly and diverse and through resource. Talking with friends around the country (I have lovely friends, readers and librarians and teachers, book-lovers all), comparing what is available to them through their digital libraries, I've realized how lucky I am to have this eBranch at my fingertips. Kudos, all. And thanks.

Thanks, Melanie! We

Thanks, Melanie! We appreciate your comments very much!

Thank you for the eBranch! It

Thank you for the eBranch! It is wonderfully important to me. Sometimes my health problems make it hard to even *think* about driving to and walking through the closest library branch (which is only 2 or 3 miles away). Thank you to everyone at HCPL who makes the eBranch work so well. It is my lifeline during the times when I can't move/function easily. Plus, Book Hunters has lead me to some great book finds and authors I might not have otherwise picked up.

Dana - You made my day.  I

Dana - You made my day.  I run the eBranch and am co-coordinator of Book Hunters.  I'm glad we are able to help you!

Thank you very much for your

Thank you very much for your kind words. We try never to forget that people are counting on us, not just for the latest bestseller or help with some research, but as a vital part of their lives. We are so glad that eBranch and Bookhunters have been a help to you during difficult times and we will do our best to continue to improve our services.

Everyone here at HCPL wishes you the best and we sincerely hope that you will be able to visit us in person soon. Until then, eBranch is always open!