The Houston Public Library has officially plugged in a BOOKLink at Hobby Airport. The self-service kiosk invites users to select from physical books, eBooks and audiobooks.
A colorful and inviting vending machine packed with books is now strategically positioned near the main entrance of William P. Hobby Airport, near escalators and TSA Screening. The Houston Public Library and Houston Airports celebrated the launch of the self-service BOOKLink automat on November 16, 2023, just in time for the record-making Thanksgiving holiday travel period.
The convenient cabinet features five shelves of books for adults, teens and children. Books are offered in English and Spanish, an important feature for Houston, which is a primary gateway to Latin America. The machines, which work like vending machines, can be accessed with or without a Houston Public Library card. While Houston Public Library cardholders can check out physical books, anyone can check out an e-book and/or audiobook. The machine is also a convenient way for library users to return books, too. The QR code that appears on the BOOKLink screen can be used to borrow free e-books and other digital formats, including audiobooks, with just an email address—a library card is not required.
If you don’t have a MY Link card, visit the Houston Public Library's website and sign up.
The machines are simple to use. Users scan their library cards, enter their PIN, and open the door to select the books they want. After the door is shut, the machine runs inventory using RFID technology to determine what's been checked out. Users then have the option to print a receipt showing what they've borrowed and when it's due.
The BOOKLink at Hobby Airport is the first one at any Houston airport and aligns with the airport system’s vision: Establish Houston Airports as a 5-Star global air service gateway where the magic of flight is celebrated. Literature can open the reader to a new world of ideas, experiences, cultures and understanding. Books, like airplanes, can transport the reader to far-off places where new adventures can tug at the heartstrings or get hearts pounding. BOOKLink is available to passengers, airport visitors and aviation workers.
The Houston Public Library plugged in the first BOOKLink in 2019 at a library in Downtown Houston as part of an initiative to bring the library to more people.
HOW DO I GET A LIBRARY CARD?
Apply for your library card in person at any Houston Public Library location or online. Library cards are free to City of Houston residents. The non-resident fee is waived for anyone residing in the State of Texas. Residents outside Texas may purchase a card for $40 a year. Temporary Resident cards with limited privileges are available to individuals who temporarily reside locally. Acceptable documentation of temporary residency is required in addition to a valid photo ID.
Children under 18 may get their own library cards with applications signed by parents or guardians. The parent or guardian must agree to be responsible for the use of the child's card, including any fines or fees, and for the child's selection of materials and use of electronic resources, including the Internet.