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At HCPL, checkouts are not limited to traditional library materials like books and DVDs. You can check out Kindles, laptops, CAC Readers, and even gardening tools. Below, you will find everything you need to know about HCPL's special equipment.

Laptops (in-library use}

What do I need to borrow a laptop for use in the library?

You need a valid library card. The card must be present and belong to the customer presenting it.

Who can borrow a laptop?

Library customers who are 12 years of age or older with a valid Harris County Library Card in their own name and who have no blocks on their library accounts. An individual may check out only one laptop at a time.

How long can I borrow the laptop?

The loan period for laptops in the library is 2 hours. Laptops must be returned 15 minutes before closing. Renewals are allowed if no other customer is waiting for a laptop. You will be charged a fine if you do not return the laptop on time. Staff will go over the checklist with you and give you a receipt upon return.

Where do I return laptops?

Please return laptops to a staff member at the desk from which they were borrowed. 

Are there fines or fees associated with checking out a laptop?

The borrower agrees to return the laptop equipment in the same order and condition as when received and if such equipment is damaged or lost while on loan, agrees to reimburse the library for the cost of the laptop. Fines for in-branch use laptops are $2.00 per hour. Removal of an HCPL laptop from the lending branch will result in a replacement charge for the laptop. Law enforcement officers will be notified if a laptop is removed from the library.

Are there any other rules for checking out laptops?

Laptops should not be left unattended. Leaving laptops unattended will result in loss of laptop checkout privileges. ƒ Users are responsible for the laptop while it is checked out. The Library is not responsible for loss while checked out to the user. Do not tamper with the security features of the laptop. Doing so will result in suspension of borrowing privileges and fines. No user files will be retained on the hard disk.

Can I take a laptop home?

There are laptops for in-library use. That is what this section is about.

HCPL Connected also has laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots available for extended checkout while supplies last. HCPL Connected laptops can be taken home. Visit the Digital Access page for more information


Who can checkout a Kindle Touch?

Anybody with a full-service HCPL library card without blocks on the account.

How do I checkout a Kindle Touch?

Check availability in the HCPL catalog using search term: Kindle Touch. If your branch has one available, just visit the branch and ask at the circulation desk to check it out as you would any other item. If your branch's Kindle Touch is already checked out, you can place a hold in the catalog. You will be notified when you can pick it up at the branch.

What can I do with it once I've checked it out?

You can use the Kindle to check out free eBooks from HCPL’s collection or download books available on

How long do I get to keep it?

Two weeks

CAC Readers (Common Access Card Readers for Military Personnel)

What is a Common Access Card?

is a smart card and is the standard identification for Active Duty United States Defense personnel, to include the Selected Reserve and National GuardUnited States Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees, United States Coast Guard (USCG) civilian employees and eligible DoD and USCG contractor personnel. It is also the principal card used to enable physical access to buildings and controlled spaces, and it provides access to defense computer networks and systems.

What do I need in order to use a CAC Reader at the library?

You may use the CAC Reader if:

  • You have a current Department of Defense issued military ID AND you are
  • a library cardholder with Harris County Public Library or Lone Star College
  • do not have blocks on your HCPL library card account

How long can I use the CAC reader?

The CAC reader checks out for two hours. Loan period may be extended if no one else has requested it.

I am active duty military, what can I use a CAC reader for?

Common Access Card reader or CAC reader for military personnel enables active duty and reserve military to conduct online military business locally instead of having to travel to a military base/facility. With a CAC reader, a service member can access websites to do online training, check military email, create orders and travel vouchers, apply for billets, access unit sharepoint sites, and more.

Do all HCPL branches have CAC Readers for Military Personnel?

No, but many do, and they are located throughout of the county. The branches listed below have CAC readers:
Aldine Branch Library

Atascocita Branch Library
Barbara Bush Branch Library
Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library
Crosby Branch Library
Fairbanks Branch Library
High Meadows Branch Library
Jacinto City Branch Library
Katy Branch Library
Kingwood Branch Library
La Porte Branch Library
Lone Star College - CyFair Branch Library
Lone Star College - Tomball Community Library
North Channel Branch Library
Northwest Branch Library
South Houston Branch Library
Spring Branch Memorial Library
Stratford Branch Library (Highlands TX)

Can I use a CAC Reader on the library's computer?

Military service members may use the CAC reader on their personal laptops or the public computers in the library. Be advised that, due to the library’s firewall, some websites cannot be accessed on the public computers even with a CAC reader. Therefore, military members are advised to bring their personal laptops if they have them and use our free WiFi. Personal laptops with older versions of Windows such as XP, Vista and older, must have ActivClient software installed. It can be downloaded for free at or, for MAC users, go to The CAC reader is compatible with Windows 7 and 8 without ActivClient software.

Baldwin Boettcher Tool Library

What tools are available?

  • Shovel, closed-back, round point. Qty. available: 10
  • Spade, D-grip, 16" drain spade. Qty available: 10
  • Shovel, square point, closed-back, 48" handle. Qty available10
  • Rake, spring. 24 inch wide. 54" handle. Qty available: 10
  • Rake, bow. 16 teeth. Qty available 10
  • Hoe, 7" Qty Available: 10
  • Cultivator, 4 tine, 5" wide. Qty available: 10
  • Weeder, Cape Cod. Qty available 10
  • Trowel, nursery, 14" Qty available 10
  • Shears, hedge, 9" blades. Qty available 10
  • Lopper, crew, 1.5" cutting capacity. Qty available 10
  • Pruners, 1" cutting capacity. Qty available: 10
  • Kneeling pad, waterproof. Qty available: 10
  • Wheelbarrow, 6 cubic foot capacity, pneumatic tire. Qty available: 6
  • Safety glasses, anti-fog. Qty available: 10
  • Gloves, latex coated work, SMALL. Qty available 6
  • Gloves, latex coated work, MEDIUM. Qty available 6
  • Gloves, latex coated work, LARGE. Qty available 6
  • Gloves, latex coated work, XL. Qty available 6

Available Tools with Description and Photos

Baldwin Boettcher is not my home branch. Can I still borrow tools?

Yes! Contact your home branch and tell them what you need. They will place a request for you. You will however have to pick up tools at the Baldwin Boettcher location. We cannot ship tools to other branch locations.

Who can borrow tools?

Anyone with a Harris County Public Library card without blocks on their account can borrow tools from the Baldwin Boettcher Branch Library.

You will be required to sign a Harris County Public Library Gardening Tool Waiver before you can checkout tools. 

View or print Gardening Waiver Form

I need several tools to complete my project. Can I borrow more than one?

Yes! You may borrow a total of 40 (Up to 20 small tools and up to 20 large tools.

How long can I keep the tools

The lending period for tools is 14 days with no renewals. You may, however, return the item and borrow it again if there is not a waiting list for the tool.

Are there fees if I return a tool late?

Yes. We do charge late fees for tools that are past due.

  • Small tools = $.10 per day / $3.00 maximum fee
  • Large tools = $2.00 per day / $100.00 maximum fee
  • After the tool has been late by120 days, a replacement fee will be charged. Speak to a staff member if you are interested in replacing the tool rather than paying the replacement fee.

What if I damage or lose a tool?

  • Tool replacement fees will be charged for any lost items. If the lost material is recovered you may request a refund within one year of payment date.
  • If the item is returned damaged, you will be charged the tool replacement fee.

Do I have to return tools to the Baldwin Boettcher location?

Yes, please all tools to Baldwin Boettcher Branch Library when the library is open. Please clean tools before returning them. Failure to return to this location will result in the loss of tool borrowing privileges. 

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