Increasingly, airport amenities are designed to take the boredom out of travel. With that in mind, both IAH and HOU added Little Libraries to the offerings available for passengers traveling with the only two 4-star airports in a single city within the Western Hemisphere. A Little Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. It is not a direct swap, however; individuals can take a book without returning one in kind, though it is encouraged.
Just a few short years ago, mothers’ rooms, yoga rooms, and art galleries would have all been rare and amazing amenities at most airports. Nowadays, they are becoming more and more common in airports across the U.S. and the world. Incidentally, each of those features can be found at airports within Houston Airports.
Airports see these modern amenities as ways to further differentiate themselves from the competition.
Little Libraries are now available at both HOU and IAH. In February 2019, Houston Airports’ first Little Library became available at HOU, and it has been a popular commodity.
“Little Libraries are becoming more and more popular at airports, and we thought why not offer them at our airports for passengers to entertain themselves before a flight or simply lighten their load,” said Houston Airports Chief Terminal Management Officer Liliana Rambo.
The Little Libraries have proven so popular that HOU now offers three, near Gates 44, 4 and 23. Trai Hicks, Assistant Customer Service Manager at HOU, has also started an ongoing book drive among HOU staff and receives a constant flow of book donations from Houston Airports’ Volunteer Ambassadors.
The Little Library is a great way to promote literacy. Book selections include adult, teen and children's books, from the classics to modern publications, and even includes books in different languages.
At IAH, two Little Libraries are available to passengers. One is located at Terminal A inside security by gate A3. The other is located at Terminal D inside security by gate D9.
How does the checking out process work?
“It couldn’t be better designed to cater to the wants and needs of the customer, “ said Ella Ghica, Customer Service Manager at IAH.
“It works very simply,” Ghica said. “ There are no fees, no due dates, and no limits. Passenger can keep the book they select if they choose. They can also donate a book on their next trip, also if they choose to do so.”
Little Libraries are available to all passengers, regardless of age.
The libraries are stocked with donations, primarily from Volunteer Ambassadors. Many of the donators are book lovers who said they were looking to clear space from their homes while contributing to a worthwhile cause.
“For many travelers, it’s a good time for you to do some reading while you’re waiting for your flight,” Ghica said.
More and more airports in the United States are partnering with local libraries to enable travelers the option of reading opportunities while they wait or as they travel. But we are not alone. In Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport’s library is 10 years old and contains over 500 books.
"This is another tremendous opportunity for Houston Airports to offer value to our customers,” Rambo said.
“We are very happy to offer this service.”
Users are welcome to stay and read before boarding a flight, and to take a book with them or return it to the airport.
Airport volunteers oversee the airport shelves to ensure they are adequately stocked and to ensure book content is appropriate.