One of the crown jewels of public service in Texas County is the library system, with branches in Houston, Cabool, Licking and Summersville. The Houston branch is the headquarters of that system.

The county’s four branches employ 10 people, including executive director Lorette Smith (left), who has held the position since October 2018. The library system’s operations are overseen by a five-member board.

Within the walls of the county’s four library branches are close to 82,000 items available to be checked out, including books, DVDs, VHS tapes, music CDs and audio books. The Houston branch itself offers almost 38,000.

The Houston branch also has 14 computers for free public use that allow access to the Internet, the Houston Herald archives and

There is also free wi-fi and even a projector and screen that can be checked out for free (on a reservation basis). Genealogy material is also available, but stays inside the library.

Youth programs offered annually at the Houston library include a summer reading program, Star Wars party, princess tea party, Easter egg hunt, Halloween book and candy giveaway, Christmas program and party, Wednesday morning “story time” session for pre-school age kids, Thursday teen book club and more. Kids activities at the Houston branch are overseen by youth program director Tiffany Davy.

“We have something going on for kids almost every month,” Smith said.

The Houston library is also a stop on the Taste of Christmas, a food-tasting event and competition sponsored by the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce.

The county library system is part of the Missouri Evergreen Libraries program, which allows people to order books and other material from about 40 libraries around the state. Ordering can be done online and Smith said it usually takes about a week for an item to arrive in Houston. “It depends on what library it’s coming from,” she said. “Some are faster than others. But the system has gone over big, especially the do-it-yourself part.”

Smith said there is a limit of 10 books or five movies checked out at a time per customer, which also applies to items ordered via the Missouri Evergreen system.

The Houston library offers a chance for the public to have copies made and faxes sent for minimal fees, and collating and stapling are available.


The Texas County Library’s Houston branch is located downtown. Computers are available for free public use. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. There are also branches in Licking, Summersville and Cabool.

• Address: 117 W. Walnut St., Houston

• Phone: 417-967-2258

• Website: www.texascountylibrary.lib.

• Email:

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