HCPL staff are encouraged to use their creativity and imagination to improve traditional library services in unexpected ways. This year’s creative projects included:
iPads in HCPL Branches
HCPL began experimentation with using iPads in the library setting by offering innovation grants to library branches with creative plans for tablet use, everything from supply inventories to storytimes to app classes to checking them out to customers inside the library. Network Services Assistant Andrew Shrewsbury and eBranch Librarian Grace Lillevig worked behind the scenes to make the iPads library friendly and staff in the branches, led by Branch Librarian grant recipients Deborah Sica, Angel Hill, Sylvia Powers and Clara Maynard, made them work for library customers.
Book Hunters: Your Personal Reading Consultants
HCPL’s new online readers advisory service, Book Hunters , took off during the 2011-12 year. The service matches customers who fill out a brief form with one of our many library staff reading experts to provide a list of suggested books based on their preferences. Book Hunters created 1,669 lists this year for HCPL customers. The service is coordinated by eBranch Librarian Grace Lillevig and Coordinator of Marketing and Programming Linda Stevens, with a team of 40 book experts.
Thunder Soul with Kashmere Reunion Stage Band
Through the efforts of Marketing Administrative Assistant Stephanie Thompson, we were able to bring a very special program to Lone Star College Cy-Fair this year, in celebration of Black History Month. The audience was treated to a viewing of the documentary Thunder Soul, the NAACP Image Award -nominated documentary about the legendary Kashmere Gardens High School Stage Band and its leader Conrad “Prof” Johnson. Following the movie, the Kashmere Reunion Stage Band  brought the entire audience to their feet for dancing and applause.
Copyright restrictions have always posed a barrier to sharing library storytimes through video. Christina Thompson, Assistant Branch Librarian at North Channel Branch Library, worked around this by making her own early childhood videos that are feltboard versions of nursery rhymes.
Art Car Parade
One of Houston’s most popular and colorful events is the annual Orange Show Art Car Parade . The Library, led by Aldine Young Adult Librarian Ryan Fennell and Tomball Circulation Services Manager Kathy Green, participated for the third time this year with traditional library book carts decorated by teens and staff to become a giant fish made of recycled hurricane tracker CDs, Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine, and Hello, Kitty.
Aldine Teens Need Their Library
This year the American Library Association announced its “Why I Need My Library” Video Contest . It challenged teens from across the country to make 1 to 3 minute videos demonstrating why libraries are needed now more than ever. In May, the ALA announced that teens from HCPL’s Aldine Branch Library had been awarded second place out of a field of 150 entrants. Needless to say, we are proud of this great group of young adults and the recognition of their accomplishment, but we are much more proud—not to mention grateful --that they felt strongly enough about the issue to put their time and efforts into telling the world about the important role our library plays in their academic, cultural and social lives.