I edited pictures on Lightroom 5 on my laptop, copied them to a portable drive and imported them to my desktop copy of Lightroom but the metadata changes made on the laptop were not imported. Is there a way for them to also be imported?
By default, metadata changes are stored only in the LR catalog. To get them stored in the photos before you copy the photos to the portable drive, select the photos and do Metadata > Save Metadata To File. Or set the option Catalog Settings > General > Automatically Write Changes Into XMP to have the changes written back to files as you make the changes.
This method works fine if you all you want is photo-specific metadata (edits, captions, ratings, etc.). But if you want collections, stacking, and other multi-photo metadata copied over, or you want more sophisticated options for handling the transfer, use File > Export As Catalog / Import From Another Catalog.