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What Does 'Library for All' Mean?

Harris County Public Library strives to create a welcoming & inclusive environment where all people feel they belong: All races and ethnicities. All ages. All capabilities. All beliefs. All genders and orientations. This library is for all people.

Library for AllGraphic hands of different skintones grasping wrists in a unity square

  • Collections: books, movies, and other materials in our collection and in-library displays highlight and reflect the rich diversity of Harris County and the world.
  • Programs: HCPL branches offer a wide range of programs including sensory, educational, and community-building designed to promote understanding and dialogue. 
  • Accommodation & Accessibility: HCPL spaces and programs are free and welcoming environments for people of all abilities. 
  • Defending your freedom to read: HCPL believes your freedom to read as you choose is as important as your freedom of speech. We stand against censorship and the banning of books.
  • Personalized Service: Our friendly information professionals are here to help you. We can help you connect with the services and communities you are looking for.
  • Privacy: Your right to read and learn as you choose is fundamental. Your privacy is our priority. Your library records are strictly confidential.

Library for All is a "work in progress." Harris County Public Library is committed to addressing the needs of underrepresented and under-served communities through library policies, services, and programs. 

Library for All would not be true to its name without the full and active involvement of the people of Harris County. If you have suggestions for ways we can better serve you and your community, contact Library for All

Collections and Programs

Collectionsdifferent colors of hands raised in celebration

HCPL works hard to make sure that everyone who enters the library sees themselves reflected in our collections. Our collections highlight the vast diversity and the whole range of lived experiences of the people of Harris County. HCPL believes that reading diversely is a pathway to empathy, understanding, and, in the end, unity.

We have large collections in many languages including Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Hindi

Below are just some ways to read diversely.

OwnVoices 
#OwnVoices refers to books about characters from underrepresented or marginalized groups in which the author shares the same identity. The writing is inspired by the author's own experiences and written from their own perspective.

BIPOC
Search the subject term BIPOC for titles by authors or with main characters who are Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Color.

LGBTQtitles
Search our catalog using the term LGBTQtitles for books, movies, and more by and about people in the LGBTQ+ community. You will find fiction and nonfiction for all ages. There are over 5000 titles to choose from and more are added all the time

Programs & Heritage Month Celebrations

Harris County Public Library highlights the contributions of all communities and peoples throughout the year and celebrates these and other designated Heritage Months. Find Heritage Month programs at a branch near you

Black History Month Logo

February: Black History Month

Women's History Month logo

March: Women's History Month

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month logo

May: Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

HCPL Pride Month Logo

June: Pride Month

Hispanic Heritage Month Logo

Sep 15 - Oct 15: Hispanic Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month Logo

November: Native American Heritage Month

Your Right to Read

Graphic - stack of booksHarris County Public Library supports your right to read as you choose. HCPL, along with libraries across the state and the nation, oppose book banning and censorship of any kind. We support your right to read as you see fit and we ask that you allow others to do the same. 

Texans for the Right to Read

#FReadom

HCPL Resources: Intellectual Freedom

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access (IDEA).

In order to truly make Harris County Public Library a Library for All, we must look at the library as a whole to see areas in which we can improve the ways we do things, then take appropriate action. To that end, HCPL will form a committee for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access (IDEA) to help audit, recommend and implement policies, practices, programs, and organizational behaviors that foster authentic inclusion, diversity, equity, and access within Harris County Public Library and its services and programs, with the intention of positioning the organization internally and externally for greater engagement and impact with diverse communities. This includes helping to increase racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and ideological diversity across our staff, and other stakeholders like volunteers, Friends of the library, and interns while expanding our culture of equity, access and inclusion within the organization.

HCPL will periodically report on the Committee's work. 

ADA, Accommodations and Neurodiversity

ADAGraphic with international wheelchair access icon

Programs and services are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliant.  Accommodations can be requested in advance by contacting the library by phone, or online: program accommodation request form.

Adaptive Resource Kits

All HCPL branches have adaptive resource kits available for in-library use:

  • Comfort Kits are designed for people with neurocognitive needs.
  • Vision Kits contain equipment for people with low-vision and dyslexia
  • Memory Kits for people experiencing memory loss and their caregivers.

For more information, visit our Adaptive Resources Page.graphic with jigsaw puzzle pieces

Books & Other Resources

Neurodiversity
Nonfiction and fiction books, eBooks and other formats for a variety age ranges. Subjects include Austism, ADHD, OCD.

Autism & Asperger's Syndrome

Dyslexia
 

 

#Pride

Library for All: Free to be You and Read - WATCH
 

More about this Program and the Panel

Join Harris County Public Library (HCPL) and Rice University’s Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (CSWGS), as we welcome Leigh Pfeffer and Aubree Calvin, hosts of the podcasts History is Gay and Southern Queeries for a special presentation on Texas’ LGBTQ+ history and a panel discussion on censorship and book banning as part of our Pride Month celebration. Also participating on the panel will be Harris County Public Library librarian Sadina Shawver and Rice Professor Tesla Cariani will be moderating. This presentation will be in-person at Rice University (Humanities Building 117) and streamed live through Harris County Public Library’s Facebook page.  

History is Gay logoAubree CalvinLeigh Pfeffer (they/them) is the host and producer of History is Gay, a podcast that examines the overlooked and underappreciated queer ladies, gents, and gentle-enbies from the unexplored corners of history. They are also especially passionate about TV, comics, and the importance of LGBTQ representation on-screen and off. When not working on podcasts or roaming about academic circles, they enjoy seeing hopeful and representative queer stories reflected in media, new comic book Wednesdays, drinking tea, petting all the dogs, and fighting the patriarchy. For their day job, they work as Manager of Museum Experience for the GLBT Historical Society Museum & Archives in San Francisco. 

Southern Queeries logoLeigh Pfeffer Aubree Calvin (she/her) is a north Texas-based writer, speaker, and queer educator. She writes about the intersections of race, politics, religion, and LGBTQ+ life through a pop culture lens. Aubree’s work has appeared in the Dallas Voice, Nerdist, and she is a regular columnist for Gay Parent Magazine. Aubree is also the co-host of the podcast, Southern Queeries, which examines LGBTQ life in the south. When not creating queer content, she is a ful time government professor and enjoys spending time with her wife and teen daughter.

Sadina ShawverSadina Shawver Sadina Shawver (she/they) is a Youth Services Librarian with the HarrisUsing our library voices podcast logo County Public Library. She is a contributor to the county Podcast, Using Our Library Voices, bringing her love for horror to the scope of children’s literature. Sadina has a baccalaureate and Master’s in History alongside her Master’s in Library Science. This odd combination provides a lens with which to view and understand early development, political cycles, and social change.  

Photo of Rice Professor Tesla CarianiTesla Cariani (Moderator) is thewordmark logo Rice Center for Study of Women, Gender & Sexuality incoming postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Rice University. Tesla received a Ph.D. in English as well as a graduate certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Emory University. Tesla has a background in documentary film production, and their research interests include queer & trans studies, LGBTQ+ activism, and contemporary visual media. Tesla’s work has been published in Parallax, PMLA, and is forthcoming in The LGBTQ Comics Studies Reader

COVID Policy: While masks are no longer required, we welcome our in-person guests to wear them, and have chosen a venue that allows for socially distanced seating during the panel.

Using Our Library Voices Podcast:

HCPL's Sadina Shawver and MC Brickell interview Leigh Pfeffer of the History is Gay podcast

Pride @ Your Library: Pride Month Programs 

Join HCPL in celebrating Pride all month long with special programs and events at your branch library.

Library Services Blog View HCPL Blog >

Editor's note: The only thing harder than being the parent or guardian of a young adult who, for whatever reason, has become disconnected from school or work, is being the young adult who is st

Libraries have long since evolved into more than a house of books. We offer a variety of services, programs, and resources to the community.