Harris County officials celebrated the opening of the county's newest Family Place Library on Sept. 14, located at the West University Branch Library at 6108 Auden St., Houston.

The takeaway

Although the West U library falls within the Harris County Public Library system, the push to bring Family Place libraries to Harris County is being led by the nonprofit Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation as a way to boost child literacy.

The concept involves creating a physical space within the library for family engagement programming, according to the HCPL system, including early literacy, and parent and caregiver education.

Digging deeper

Family Place libraries also offer a free five-week program, during which parents can meet with professionals who can answer questions on:
  • Literacy
  • Speech, hearing and language development
  • Child development
  • Nutrition
  • Music, play and health
During the five weeks of the program, each of the five topics is also highlighted with related activities for a one-week period.

One more thing

At the start of 2023, Family Place libraries had been set up at 19 libraries across the HCPL system and the Houston Public Library system. Since 2023, new Family Place libraries have opened in Atascocita and in South Houston, in addition to West U. Other Family Place libraries are being planned in Crosby, Fairbanks and Kingwood.