I do a lot of reading and love researching history. I don’t think there is anything quite as satisfying as spending the afternoon in a library, surrounded only by the sounds of people’s concentration and the smell of leather-bound books.
Houston has many libraries to choose from, whether you want to work, study, read a novel, or educate yourself on a new topic, but which ones are the best in the city?
I think a library is very personal; some people, especially students, prefer a library with all the mod-cons, bright lighting, and understandable internet access. However, personally, I love the old-fashioned library, one that smells slightly musty, has tall pillars at the end of the aisles, and books stacked to the ceiling like something out of beauty and the beast.
Best Libraries in Houston – My Top Picks
During this guide, I am going to tell you about all my favorite things about some of the most impressive libraries in Houston.
I have looked at what they offer in terms of modern technology, where they are located, and the general atmosphere and clientele.
I have also looked at other services they offer, such as documentation, printing, events, and children’s entertainment.
These libraries are not in any particular order. I have simply listed my favorite ones and tried to keep them as varied as possible so that there is something to suit everyone’s requirements. I have included some libraries that are a short distance from Houston to give you a few more options.
1. George Memorial Library
|Address||1001 Golfview Drive, Richmond, TX 77469|
|Amenities||Writer's corner, pre-school events, craft classes, virtual computer programs|
|Opening Times||Monday: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Tuesday - Wednesday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday - 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Friday - Saturday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday - Closed
The George Memorial Library is a beautiful place to spend the afternoon for whatever reason you have to visit. For example, if you have kids, it’s an excellent spot to take them for indoor entertainment, such as story time, puzzles, and a massive children’s book selection.
However, if you’re there to curl up with a good novel, or catch up on your studies, don’t let the fact that this is a kid-friendly zone put you off. You won’t get kids running under your feet and screaming while you try to work. The children’s activities are kept quiet; if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t even know they were there.
Many research resources are available, including genealogy, local history, law, databases, and learning platforms.
The library was founded in 1937 and was a ladies-only library where women could meet and exchange books. Nowadays, it’s a popular community hub for everyone to enjoy.
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2. Houston Public Library
|Address||500 McKinney Street, Houston, Downtown, Fourth Ward, TX 77002|
|Amenities||Exhibits, virtual events, reader's corner, E-books, eResourses, Free WiFi|
|Opening Times||Monday - Thursday: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
Friday - Saturday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday - 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
If you’re looking for a library that is a little more modern, then the Houston Public Library will blow you away with the number of mod-cons and hi-tech gadgets.
There are more computers than you can imagine and every eBook you could wish for. They also have all the magazine subscriptions you could ever need. On top of this, they have just about everything you could possibly want from a library.
They offer an extremely efficient passport service that is timely and reliable. In fact, they can have it done for you in under ten minutes.
They have a fantastic courtyard area where you can relax out of the sun and chill out with a book or catch up on your revision.
There is a fascinating art exhibition on the ground floor and books, CDs, and movies.
Upstairs is the children and teens area, where they have a huge play area, classrooms, and even Nintendo. There is a gaming alcove in a dark room with comfy cushioned seating and pod chairs. I always find this room a little eerie, as it’s deathly quiet and usually full of teenagers engrossed in some form of games.
There is also a performance room, which holds events such as magic shows for the little ones.
During the holiday season, there is also lots going on, such as the Family Winter Fest, where you and the kids can participate in themed crafts, Christmas caroling, and even interact with some live reindeer.
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3. Houston Baptist University – The Moody Library
|Address||Moody Library, 7502 Fondren, Houston, TX 77074|
|Opening Times||First Floor: Monday - Sunday: 7:00 am - 12:00 am
Second floor: - Monday - Saturday: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
The Moody Library is a religious-focused library in Houston that invites people from all walks of life to discover their resources and services and learn about spiritual and intellectual growth.
There are tons of areas where you can use the library’s WiFi and charging ports to set up your laptop and study in a quiet and peaceful environment. All their resources are available to anyone, and there are no memberships, passwords, or restrictions on their network.
They have many collections, including audio-visual, curriculum, reference, youth, and periodical, and a specialized section on the second floor in the study rooms.
One of the most valuable things about this library is that if you don’t have your own laptop, you can rent one using their handy laptop dispenser. Twelve laptops are available to borrow, and you can use them for a maximum of three hours.
4. Lanier Theological Library
|Address||14130 Hargrave Road, Houston, TX 77070|
|Amenities||Public programs, chapel, private collections, ancient artifacts, research tools|
|Opening Times||Monday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Wednesday - Friday - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday - Sunday: Closed
Situated in Northwest Houston, the Lanier Theological Library boasts over 100,000 books. It focuses mainly on Biblical Studies, Archeology, Egyptology, The Dead Sea Scrolls, and Church History.
If you love anything to do with history, you’ll fall in love with this place from the moment you arrive. From its replica of the 500 A.D. chapel to its feature ceilings and paintings, this building feels like you’re going back in time.
This is probably why it’s one of my favorite places to relax, study, and read in Houston.
When you visit this library, you’re getting much more than a place to catch up on work or rent a book. It’s a day where you can learn and get a complete museum experience.
Around the library, there is much to look at aside from the vast collection of literary material. In fact, they have some of the most ancient artifacts in Houston on display, such as Roman currency and old-age pottery. These are all located in the main hall of the library.
Just to make you aware, before entering the library, you need to call a number you will find outside the main gates. Whoever answers the phone will then allow you access to the library.
I thought that was worth mentioning, as I found it confusing the first time I visited. However, once in, I feel that it adds to the feeling of security you get when you’re relaxing inside and makes it even more private.
Surrounding the library outside are some beautiful gardens and Greenland. It is a gorgeous place, and whenever I look up at the main building, I can’t help but get the feeling I am in the middle of a Harry Potter set.
If you fancy it, I recommend visiting the chapel adjoining the library, you’re permitted to do it without charge, and it’s a fascinating building with feature ceilings and even more Christian artifacts to look at.
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5. Looscan Neighbourhood Library
|Address||2510 Willowick, Houston, TX 77027|
|Amenities||Cozy chairs, free WiFi, computers, intimate, quiet|
Until quite recently, Looscan Neighbourhood Library wasn’t one I had ever visited. I was mainly drawn to it after passing one day and noticing the impressive clock tower, which looked like the kind you see in small-town movies.
However, because I have been trying to expand my library visits to other places in the city, I thought I would give this one a try earlier this year.
The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the musty odor, don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. In fact, I thought this only added to the character and historic vibes.
This quaint little library is nowhere near as vast as some of the others I have talked about. Still, again, this is something I immensely enjoyed, and I thought it made it feel like a more intimate experience.
There is a small section for children full of books, toys, and activities, so great if you’re looking for a smaller, peaceful place to take the kids during the day.
I love the periodical section. It has some ornate furniture and feels really warm, cozy, and homely, my perfect idea of somewhere to curl up with a good book.
If you want to study, there are plenty of areas where you can sit at a desk, and there are also computers available for public use, meaning you don’t have to lug your laptop around with you. They have free WiFi too.
The parking can be a bit of a nightmare, as the parking lot doesn’t seem to be adequate for the number of people who frequent the library.
6. Fondran Library
|Address||6100 Main Street, Houston, TX77005|
|Opening Times||24 Hours Sunday - Thursday|
Fondran Library is the only 24-hour library that I am aware of within Houston. So, if you like to study through the night or are struggling with a bout of insomnia and want somewhere quiet to take a good novel, this is your place.
There are many cubicles so that you can have a private space and many open areas with comfy seating, spacious tables, and quiet study rooms, all of which have charging ports.
To get the cheapest parking, I would advise parking a bit further afield and walk from Greenbriar, where it will cost you only $2.00 for the entire day. You’ll find this a handy tip, as, during my visit, I found out the hard way that one parking lot charges around $2.00 for half an hour. Extortionate!
If you want to ensure you’re getting the best spot here, I would advise booking a place online first. It can get a little busy, and although there is always somewhere free to study, you might end up seated somewhere you’re not too happy.
You don’t need to be a member here, either. All you’ll need is your driving license so that they can scan you into their system, and from there, you’re free to come and go as you please.
The atmosphere here is perfect, and plenty of natural sunlight seeps in through the windows, which is helpful if you’re studying with an old-fashioned pen and paper.
Lastly, if you get peckish during your library time, there are a couple of coffee houses nearby. However, a couple of librarians are pretty strict regarding food and drink inside the library, so you might be asked to drink up before you enter.
To Sum Up
So, there are some of the top libraries in and around Houston. I hope that no matter what you enjoy using a library for, there is something in this guide that has jumped out at you.
Suppose you thought this was an informative read. In that case, you’d be pleased to hear there are plenty of other places you can go to relax in Houston, such as 7 Cozy Airbnb With Private Pool Near Me in Houston, TX, and The Best Black-Owned Spas in Houston, TX.