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Parent's guide to Houston Public Library: How to get library card, more

HOUSTON – Parents, here's one thing you can't purchase for your children on Amazon: a love of reading. As tempting as it is to buy your children books online, download them to a tablet or play an audiobook in the car, there are some reading gaps only a big building packed with free books can fill. 

Before you and your kiddos embark on a love fest with literacy at your local library, peruse our guide to the Houston Public Library system. It's packed with information on how to make the most of your visit. Teach your kiddos that there's more to a library than shushing and shelving. 

Apply for a library card

Believe it or not, there are almost twice as many public libraries in the Bayou City as there are McDonald's restaurants. But before you and your little one can access any of them, you need a Houston Public Library card. It's your key to all 44 public libraries in Houston. Use it to borrow books, magazines, DVDs, CDs and e-books to your heart's content (just remember to return them on time). 

Library cards are free to all Texas residents. Apply for a card in person at any Houston Public Library location. Click here to find a location near you.

Adults

You must provide a valid photo ID with your current address. The following types of photo ID are acceptable if they are not expired:

  • Government agency issued identification card
  • Passports from any country
  • Any state driver's license
  • Any state or city identification card
  • METRO identification card
  • School identification card

If your photo ID does not include your address, you will need to provide a document listing your address.

Children under 18

Parents or guardians must sign applications for children under 18; if the child is not present, the parent or guardian must provide one of the following:

  • A current identification/document in the child's name issued by a government agency, school or social services provider
  • OR the child's birth certificate
  • OR the child's immunization record

Register by mail or email

Are you balancing a love of reading with a jam-packed schedule? No worries, the Houston Public Library offers book lovers the option to register for a library card by mail or email. Fill out a library card registration form and submit it along with a copy of a photo ID with your current address and email it to circinfo@hpl.lib.tx.us or mail it to this address: 

Houston Public Library
System Circulation Department (Library Card)
500 McKinney
Houston, TX 77002

Explore these fun features for kids

Once you're done with the thrill ride that is registering for your library card, take advantage of these fun features.

Get a customized book list

Don't know what to read? Fill out this form online and a Houston Public Library staff member will create a personalized reading list for you.

Attend story time or join a playgroup

The Houston Public Library offers a variety of events and activities geared at engaging children of all ages. Click here for a calendar of events.

Dive into a comic book or graphic novel

Pick up a graphic novel or comic book at your local library or head to ComicsPlus online to access a wide selection of comics on any smart device.

Summer, winter break reading programs 

Parents, register your kiddo for a seasonal reading program. They'll earn cool prizes while reading their favorite books. Click here for details.

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