Katy News Q&A: Katy Library Branch Manager Desmond London

By George Slaughter

Katy Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris poses with Katy Branch Library Manager Desmond London (photo courtesy Chris Harris)

Desmond London, the Katy Branch Library manager, began his role in July. Originally from Wisconsin, he has a background and education in library management and worked in education before joining the Harris County Public Library system.

1. You earned your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in library management at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. How did you get interested in library management?

I got interested in libraries during my time as an undergraduate student at UW Milwaukee. I met librarians often as they taught many classes during my information studies and technology undergraduate studies. They informed me of the need for men and minorities in the field and I formed strong relationships. This led to my decision to pursue the MLIS (master’s in library and information sciences) and become a librarian. I worked as IT support in the library during my undergraduate studies and became a teacher’s assistant for my master’s studies and began my trek.

2. You came from Wisconsin to San Antonio. What did you do there, and how did you find yourself moving to Katy?

In San Antonio, I worked as teacher for a couple of years. I taught computer science and ran the AR zone (library) for the IDEA public school’s Monterrey Park Campus. I also worked as a teen librarian (full time) for the city of San Antonio and a reference librarian (part time) at Alamo Colleges. These positions were vital in my growth as a librarian. I initially moved to Pearland in June 2020 and began working with Harris County Public Library as assistant branch manager at the North Channel Branch. I began as branch manager of the Katy Branch in June 2021.

3. The Katy Library is part of the Harris County Public Library System, yet it serves as the city’s library. How do you work with city officials to ensure the library gets what it needs to be successful?

Katy Branch Library is in a unique situation as a collaboration between Harris County and the City of Katy. It has been a great experience thus far working with city officials as they have been swift in assisting our library with our needs. The public works department has been amazing and we are so appreciative of the opportunity to serve both the City of Katy and Harris County overall.

4. Katy is one of the fastest-growing areas in Texas. How can the library play a positive role in that growth? What are your goals for the library?

Katy is growing exponentially. We see the library as a place in the community where you can experience this growth and the diversity that comes with it. Our goals for the library are to grow with the community and continue to provide the services that the community needs. From computer service to citizenship classes, borrowing materials to gardening clubs, we will continue to gauge community needs and wants and provide all possibilities within our capability.

5. Are there any special, upcoming library activities we can expect in the near future? Please share the details.

We are holding a concert to kick off Harris County’s Library Voyage concert tour at 6 p.m. on October 14. This will be an excellent conclusion to our Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration.

This is in partnership with the Harris County Public Library System. Apollo’s new community outreach project, Library Voyage, brings live, culturally relevant musical experiences to the Greater Houston Area. It’s a successor to the library’s multicultural 20×2020 commissioning project.

Bring a chair or blanket and join us at our Katy Branch Library, or virtually, as we present our first performance in this exciting new series with guitarist and violinist Eddy Marcano, with music from Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, Chile & Cuba. This performance is presented as part of the library’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. To join online, please visit https://www.facebook.com/harriscountypl/live/ or hcpl.net/virtualprograms.

6. How is the ongoing pandemic affecting the library, and what it can offer its patrons?

The pandemic is affecting libraries in many of the same ways it is affecting other aspects of society. We are offering curbside pickup of materials to limit interaction. We provide supplies such as masks, gloves and hand sanitizer upon entering the library. We are doing our part to assure the safety of the patrons and staff.

7. Is there anything else Katy News readers should know about you as you settle in at the Katy Library?

It is important for Katy News readers to know that we are here for them. The library is theirs and our whole existence is to provide what is needed for them. We are open to the ideas of the community and will do what we can to provide.