Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Library Lovers' Month!

Chambers County Library System – February, 2015

February was full of fun at the Chambers County Library System!  With 963 people attending 45 programs, it’s easy to see that your library is the hub of the community!  From Valentine’s Day parties for the little ones, to computer classes in Spanish, there’s something for everyone at your library. 

Staff member Kim Hart led an ‘e-Couponing’ class for adults at Mont Belvieu.  She used her expertise of mobile couponing to create a program that was quite a hit!  The program included tips and tricks to save money using your smartphone, or other mobile device.

The Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie held their annual book sale along with a Community Book Swap.  Local residents and Barbers Hill ISD teachers, Kellie Rogers and Lisa Ledoux spent several hours offering a great selection of books to patrons who wanted to trade one of their own.  This is the 2nd year Kellie and Lisa have organized the book swap in conjunction with the book sale, and we look forward to continuing this for years to come.

February was National Children’s Dental Health Month, and this brought the little ones a treat with a visit from the Tooth Fairy in Winnie and Mont Belvieu.  The kids enjoyed hearing songs to make brushing their teeth fun, and brought home a little goodie from the Tooth Fairy herself!  Anahuac kiddos enjoyed a visit from dentist, Dr. King with Bayside Clinic. 

The Chambers County Library in Anahuac hosted The Rose mobile mammography unit.  The Rose offers an alternative to hospitals and doctor’s offices by bringing mammogram testing to off-site locations.  County nurse practitioner Mary Beth Bess came a few days before to share some breast cancer prevention tips to the 16 women were able to get screened. 

February provided the library system with another opportunity to show the communities some of the things we do best. National Read Across America Day was celebrated at all three libraries celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss.  The Cat in the Hat made a visit to all the branches, and activities included songs, stories, snacks, and tons of Dr. Seuss fun!

Teens and tweens at Winnie enjoyed game nights with Young Adult Librarian, Kim Silcox.  Kim had quite a crowd as she allowed the teens to play videogames, enjoy snacks, and play traditional board games.  The teens always enjoy having the library to themselves so they can get a little noisy!

On the 28th, the Friends of the Chambers County Library System held their annual meeting.  The Friends spent their time updating those in attendance on activities held throughout the year, discussion of the library’s “wish list” of items not funded in the county budget, and selection of the library system’s employee of the year.  The 2014 Employee of the Year was selected, and the honor went to Michelle Mims in Anahuac.  Michelle has been with the library over 8 years as Children’s Librarian and Technical Services assistant.  Michelle has done a great job increasing attendance with storytime, and developing creative and interactive activities for the kids.  She’s one of the most cross trained members of the library staff.  The Friends also gave an update on the fundraising campaign for the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library.  County Librarian, Valerie Jensen gave a ‘State of the Library System’ speech, giving those in attendance a snapshot of the year, as well as new things to come.    

And finally, The Friends of the Chambers County Library System announced a gift of $100,000 from Enterprise Products. This donation will fund the Multipurpose Community Room at the new branch library building in Mont Belvieu, to be known as the Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library.  Bob Moss, Mont Belvieu plant manager for Enterprise Products, said: “Enterprise is very interested in improving literacy, and we couldn’t think of a better way to do that than

supporting the new library building.”

Dentist, Dr. King visits the Anahuac library for storytime

Employee of the year Michelle Mims and Friends of CCLS president Jean Abshier Forrest

Enterprise Products donates $100,000 towards the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library

The Rose mobile mammography unit visits Anahuac

After-school tutorials in Anahuac with OneOK volunteers

Community Book Swap and book sale at Winnie

Tooth Fairy visits Winnie storytime!

Winnie tweens enjoy game night!

Friday, February 06, 2015


New year, new money!

Chambers County Library System – January, 2015
New year, new money!  January 1 brings the library’s new budget year, and with that we begin the fun task of ordering new books, supplies, equipment, and other services for our public.  Boxes are stacking up in Tech Services, anxiously awaiting to be cataloged and processed so they can be placed on the shelves for our public.  It’s always refreshing to have the ability to fill request from patrons, and provide services that are in high demand.  We are forever grateful to Commissioners’ Court for their ongoing support of the library system.

In programming news, we continue to offer top notch programs to the public.  System-side we offered over 45 programs to kids, teens, and adults during the month of January.  From science programs to movie marathons, we have something for everyone.  As librarians, we try to actively create services and programs that are community focused.  And as a result, we hope that the public advocates on behalf of their public library.   We’re no longer just a place for books, we’re also here to provide information and help people connect, engage, and become lifelong library users!

 The Chambers County Library in Anahuac was featured in the Texas Library Association’s Cool Stuff Initiative page on Pinterest.  An “I Spy” table was created by employees Melani Aguilar and Shelby Fielding.  Children’s Librarian Michelle Mims submitted the photo, and it’s been a topic of conversation on the popular social site.  Kids love coming to the library to search and find objects on the table. 

The West Chambers Branch in Mont Belvieu held their 2nd annual Yukikon event on the 27th.  New Teen Librarian Kara DeLaughter jumped right in providing fun games and activities for the teens.  Yukikon is an even that primarily focuses on anime, manga, and Japanese culture.  The Chambers County Library in Anahuac will soon be holding their 8th annual “Ana-Con” event in May. 

The federal “e-rate” program has been in operation since 1998, and with the exception of one year, Chambers County has received this reimbursement on Internet access and phone lines to our libraries.  This is done because we provide access to the Internet for the public, and use our phone lines for assisting the public and for faxing.  The e-rate program is received yearly, and provides a wealth of good to the general public. 

All 3 libraries held a Downton Abbey movie marathon complete with tea and cookies.  The popular PBS series has been quite the buzz lately, and several people came to see what it was all about. 

At the January 27th Commissioners’ Court, Branch Librarians Aquilia De la Cruz (Anahuac), Cindy Alegria (Winnie), and Missy Parham (Mont Belvieu) were recognized for their completion of the Small Library Management program.  This 2 year program gives the ladies a better background of libraries for smaller community libraries.  The program focuses on administration, management, policy development, collection development, reference services, and technology.   

And finally, ongoing plans and meetings continue with Chambers County, the City of Mont Belvieu, County Librarian Valerie Jensen and Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass for the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library in Mont Belvieu.  County Librarian Valerie Jensen spoke at request to a Bridge Group where Carmena was a long time member to update them on the new library progress.  The group wants to contribute in Carmena’s name, and you could definitely tell she meant a lot to this nice bunch of ladies.  Plans to break ground have been put on temporary hold, but the 
public should start seeing some changes within the next couple of months.

Until next month!  Valerie Jensen, County Librarian

Branch librarians being recognized by Chambers County Commissioners’ Court

Kaiden King is proud of his artwork during storytime at Anahuac

The Yukikon gang at the West Chambers Branch in Mont Belvieu

The “I Spy” table at the Chambers County Library in Anahuac as featured in the “Cool Stuff Initiative” through Texas Library Association

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


End of year highlights!

Total circulation:  230,030 – 6% increase from 2013
Total walk in traffic:  140,815 – 2% increase from 2013
Program attendance:  17,044 – 16% increase from 2013
Public computer logons:  24,569
Wireless logons:  5,294 – 17% increase from 2013
Database usage:  16,742 - 51% increase from 2013

Some highlights of 2014 include:

·         Our highest circulation ever for the annual Summer Reading Program – 46,371!
·         Library received a grant from the Texas State Library towards the purchase of 10 iPads for after-school tutorial sessions
·         Three new staff members joined the CCLS team
·         The Friends of the library made $2,648 in book sales
·         Highest Friends membership in the library’s history with 478 members
·         All 3 branch librarians completed their Small Library Management training

We started off the month of December with our annual staff training and county safety meeting on the 4th.  It’s rare that we’re all in the same room at once, so this gives us an opportunity to introduce new staff to everyone, and also have training on topics that might need a little extra attention.  Of course we all bring breakfast goodies to snack on!  It’s wonderful to have such a dedicated group of ladies working for this library system.  I must say they’re a great bunch to have.

December also begins the task of preparing for the new budget year.  Vendors begin their calls to schedule meeting times to share their latest books and products.  We generally have a select group of book vendors we deal with and this allows us to get some great selections for the collection in both print and digital. 

In programming news, the libraries were hopping with kids and teens.  Anahuac held their annual “Twas the night” event with Mrs. Claus paying a visit.  Parents and their kids enjoyed lots of games, pizza, and of course stories from Mrs. Claus.  The Winnie teens enjoyed a lock-in on the 22nd.  Over 25 teens attended this fun packed event that lasted from 8pm-6am at the community building.  And rounding out the year were Christmas parties at each of the libraries with visits from Santa and his Mrs.

The Friends held their “Gently Used Book Sale” at Anahuac and Mont Belvieu on Dec. 11-13 bringing in quite a profit!  Both libraries were buzzing with people loading boxes of books to add to their own personal collections.  Donated items tend to take up a lot of space at the libraries so we look forward to the sales.

At Anahuac, GED and ESL classes continue to prosper!  Katherine Wilkins, the teacher for both classes has a great group of students.  Her teaching methods are unique and effective, and the students enjoy learning from her.  She shares inspirational stories from her students who have gone on to complete their GED, or spoke English for the first time in public.  For more information, please contact the library at 409-267-2554.  GED classes are held every Tuesday from 6-9pm and ESL classes are Wednesdays from 6-9pm.  All materials are provided and there is no cost to attend classes.

Until next month! 
The CCLS staff in their ugly sweaters on staff training day

Winnie teens enjoying their Christmas lock-in!

Mont Belvieu kids enjoying a visit from Santa!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


November at the library!

Chambers County Library System – November, 2014

Total Circulation for the month of November:  12,797

November came and went in a flash!  We were open 100 hours less than last month, but that certainly didn’t slow us down.  We had over 12,000 items circulate during November, and over 500 titles downloaded from our digital collection, Overdrive.  The Overdrive Digital Bookmobile made an appearance at the West Chambers Branch in Mont Belvieu on the 7th.  Overdrive is a digital distributor partnering with libraries all over the world to bring digital content to the public.  As part of their Gulf Coast tour, the bookmobile spent the day at the West Chambers Branch where patrons could bring their devices and ask questions, or simply learn about the services we offer.   

The new library planning at Mont Belvieu is still going strong.  County Librarian Valerie Jensen, and Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass attended a meeting in Houston at the design firm, PBK.  This meeting allowed us to see in detail the library design, carpet samples, and furniture options.  We anticipate breaking ground early 2015.

Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch Librarian Cindy Alegria attended her final Small Library Management course on the 3rd in Brazoria County.  This program is intended for management staff to get intense training in the areas of administration, management, policy development, collection development, reference services, youth services, and technology training.  It’s a crash course in library school.  I’m very proud to say that all Chambers County Library System branch librarians, as well as our Technical Librarian have completed the program.

Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass attended a grant writing workshop in Beaumont.  This workshop was sponsored by Grant Writing USA.  As a young professional, Annie has a great eye for grant opportunities and has also had success with her first two grant applications.  The library seeks out as many grants as possible to supplement the county budget, and we look forward to using some of the skills Annie learned on our future grant endeavors.

Several staff members attended webinars on the 2015 Summer Reading Program.  The Texas State Library provides free training for staff to offer ideas for the upcoming “Every Hero has a Story” reading program.  Chambers County Library System prides itself on a wildly successful summer program.  As a group, the entire staff of the library system comes up with outstanding ideas and programs for the children, teens, and adults of Chambers County.  We’re looking forward to 2015….it’s going to be super!

Teens at Winnie enjoyed a movie field trip to see the latest Hunger Games movie.  Staff member Kim Silcox took a group on the 22nd, and the movie did not disappoint!  Anahuac teens also had a trip planned in the afternoon of the same day, but due to the bad weather, decided to err on the side of safety and reschedule.

The Library Advisory Board met on the 18th.  No policies were discussed, but newest member Rhonda LeBlanc was able to be introduced to the group.  The Advisory Board meets 4 times a year, and is composed of 7 members residing across the county. 

Finally, after-school tutorials started November 10th at the Chambers County Library in Anahuac.  A partnership between Anahuac ISD, United Way of Greater Baytown and Chambers County, and the Chambers County Sheriff’s Department allows the library to spend an hour each week giving one on one homework help to selected middle school students.  A grant of 10 iPads awarded to the library lets the students use purchased apps geared towards enhancing math and reading skills. 

Until next month! 
Mont Belvieu patrons enjoy the Digital Bookmobile

Tweens at Winnie having fun at the Diary of a Wimpy Kid program

Friday, November 07, 2014

Chambers County Library System – October, 2014

Total Circulation for the month of October:  15,876

October always brings a line-up of Halloween activities for the kids and teens.  Anahuac and Winnie held after hours events for the teens, and all 3 branches provided programs for the pre-school and after-school age crowds.  All events were huge successes with standing room only in the libraries.  

Hispanic Heritage month ran through October 15th and Branch Librarian Aquilia De la Cruz provided a themed movie night showing a movie on the life of Cesar Chavez. 

Teen Read Week ran from October 12-18.  During this week, teens are encouraged to visit the library and participate in programs provided by the staff.  Teen Read Week is an initiative by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) to encourage teens to read and become lifelong library users.  To celebrate Teen Read Week, the Anahuac branch held a “Bookface” contest where teens found a book with part of a face on the cover and held it up to their own face to create fun and (sometimes creepy) images.  The winner was Araceli Chavez; stop by the library to see her creative picture! 

The West Chambers Branch in Mont Belvieu held online registrations for The Rose Mobile Mammography unit coming on November 12.  Registrations have exceeded expectations to the point extra time slots were added to accommodate everyone.   

Several pre-k classes at Barbers Hill ISD in Mont Belvieu came for a library tour with children’s librarian, Krystine Gonzales.  The little ones enjoyed hearing about all the fun things the library has to offer and listening to stories.  Each child also had the opportunity to go in the staff workroom and check in a book.  It’s great to see teachers with an interest in the local library, and also see the kids come back to visit with their parents.   

Fire Prevention Week was held October 5-11.  The little ones enjoyed visits from the local fire departments and got to explore the fire trucks from Mont Belvieu and Oak Island.  A big thanks to our local heroes who took time to visit the library. 

On the 8th, the Friends of the Chambers County Library System held a fundraising meeting to begin their quest to raise money for the new Sam and Carmena Memorial Branch Library in Mont Belvieu.  Members of the Friends board worked hard to gather materials and finalize the details before approaching potential donors.  The new library will have great visibility in the community and we hope that the local businesses and industries consider one of the many naming opportunities available. 

The staff at the Winnie branch did some rearranging at their library.  Staff member, Kim Silcox worked hard on moving books, furniture, and shelves in order to make an inviting, more accessible space for the teens.  Special thanks to maintenance and their trustees for handing the heavy stuff.  
Next time you’re at Winnie, check out the new teen section!

On the 10th, we held our annual Summer Reading planning meeting on October 10th.  This is the earliest we’ve ever held our planning meeting, but with deadline changes with the Collaborative Summer Program we needed to move things up a bit.  At the meeting we brainstorm ideas for programs, go over dates and details, and talk about new ideas that we can incorporate for the next year.  We think everyone’s really going to enjoy what we have in store for 2015.  We’ll be doing some big changes, and it’s going to be SUPER! 

And finally, we said goodbye to Teen Librarian Toya Peters at the West Chambers Branch in Mont Belvieu.  Toya moved on to a different line of work, but we’re happy to say she’s able to use some of the skills she learned at the library at her new job.  Toya planned and coordinated teen programming for the past 3 years, and was an exceptional employee who provided fun and creative programs for the teens. 

Until next month!
Valerie Jensen, County Librarian
Araceli Chavez - Teen Bookface winner

Minions dressed up for Halloween!

Oak Island Fire Department visiting storytime during Fire Prevention Week

Mrs. Michelle and a member of the tiniest SWAT team!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Chambers County Library System – September, 2014

The annual Texas Gatorfest always brings thousands of people to beautiful Chambers County.  It’s a time when the local folks can proudly promote their community, and the library loves to join in and be a part of this yearly festival.  Anahuac staff members Aquilia De la Cruz, LaShebia Haskin, and Michelle Mims had a booth in the Alligator Educational tent Saturday and Sunday.  These ladies worked hard preparing flyers and handouts to promote the library and its services to not only the locals, but also letting the “out-of-towners” see what great library service is all about.  Each year we receive such great comments about the library, and people who live hundreds of miles away always mention that they love their local library.  It’s great to hear how much libraries mean to people from all over the area. 

September 21-27 was Banned Books Week for libraries across the nation.  Banned Books Week was celebrated, so to speak, at all three libraries, with very interesting, and different, displays at each site. The displays tended to generate discussion by the patrons with the staff, some of it not quite what we might have expected!  But that, of course, is part of the whole effort behind Banned Books Week – to get people talking about censorship, the books that have been challenged, and to get them thinking about their own opinions of the same.

County Librarian Valerie Jensen and Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass were busy this month attending webinars for a state funded grant the library received for iPads to assist with the after-school tutoring sessions at Anahuac.  We’re required to report to the state library each quarter with performance and financial updates.  We’re excited to see the tutorials get started back up. 

Annie and I, along with Branch Librarian Missy Parham attended a couple of meetings for the Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library.  We’re already picking out furniture, carpet, and fabric.  The design process is going very well, and we can’t wait until we break ground later this year (or early next). 

On September 15th, we received our annual Accreditation letter.  Libraries in the state of Texas must adhere to certain personnel, finance, technology, and service standards in order to be an accredited library.  By receiving this recognition, it shows that the library has proven its value and importance to the community.  Chambers County Library System prides itself on exemplary standards, according to the Texas State Library, proving we go above and beyond to stay current in library trends.

Staff member, Shelby Fielding organized a Fall Gardening program on the 24th.  A packed house attended to hear from local master gardeners.  Presenters brought butterflies in various stages, talked about local plants to attract butterflies, and were on hand to answer gardening questions from the group. 

Our wonderful Friends of the library group decided they wanted to award the branches with a free lunch to say “thank you” for all the hard work during Summer Reading.  Members of the Executive Board delivered sandwiches, chips, drinks, and dessert for the entire staff to enjoy.  The Friends make Summer Reading possible, and without their support we wouldn’t be able to provide such great programs for our public.  

Until next month!
Kids enjoy the snapping alligator at Gatorfest!

Kids enjoy the Homeschool Science program at Mont Belvieu

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Back to school!

Chambers County Library System – August, 2014

August started off with good news for the library system.  County Librarian Valerie Jensen, and Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass were rewarded for their grant writing efforts by receiving a state funded grant for 10 iPads to be used primarily for the after school tutoring sessions at Anahuac.  The tutoring sessions are part of a partnership with United Way of Greater Baytown and Chambers County, along with the Chambers County Sheriff’s Department and Anahuac ISD.  Tutorial sessions began last school year and ended with great results, and we anticipate more student involvement this year.  The Anahuac branch is always looking for volunteer tutors, so contact them today! 

Each year Commissioners’ Court sponsors the “summer helper” program.  This year, an exceptional group of student workers were hired at each of the libraries.  We hated to see them go, but their time was well spent providing the library with assistance at programs, and performing a wide variety of tasks that our regular staff can’t get to during the year.  The salaries provided to these young people help them a great deal as they get ready for college, or just to save money for things they need.  For many of these young students, this is their first job and we like to think we leave a good impression on them as they jump into the working world.

Over the last several weeks we’ve had some website problems due to a server upgrade that left us without an online presence.  We seem to be functioning again, thanks to our local website guru, Kathy Fielding who was able to get us back up and running. 

Several staff members took advantage of the CPR training provided by the County.  It’s very important that each staff member be properly trained since we deal so heavily with the public.  By the end of September, all library staff will be updated in their certifications.  

On the 28th, the Children’s Librarians met at Anahuac for their yearly meeting to brainstorm ideas, talk about different storytime strategies, and see all the resources available to them for the little ones.  Staff members, Michelle Mims, Yolie Belt, Jennifer Kellum, Missy Parham, and newest staff member Krystine Gonzales were all in attendance.  Krystine joins the West Chambers Branch at Mont Belvieu as the new Children’s Librarian.  Missy Parham, the current Branch Librarian/Children’s Librarian has been over the kids program for the past several years.  She’s decided to hang up that hat and concentrate more on the duties of running a busy branch.  Of course, she’ll still be around to visit with the little ones each week at storytime!  We welcome Krystine to the gang, and know she’ll do a great job!

In programming news, each branch held a “Back to School Bash” during August.  Anahuac had the local dentist, Dr. Kevin King, Sheriff Hawthorne, and Deputy Dan to visit with the kids and pose for pictures.  Games and snacks were served.  Winnie held their bash at the community building with giant games as the theme.  Oversized classic games such as Chutes and Ladders, and Perfection were on hand for kids to play.  There were also donated back to school items from local businesses raffled to those in attendance.  Mont Belvieu held a Back to Homeschool Bash for the parents to learn about the resources offered to them and their children.  A Little Chef’s Back to School Cooking Class also took place at Mont Belvieu for the little ones under 12. 

Ongoing meetings for the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library took place in August.  We met with shelving contractors, and the county’s Technology department to start working on some very important details before construction can start. 

Until next month!

Patron Bobbie Zigler enjoys one of the many public computers

Deputy Dan and Dr. Kevin King at Anahuac's Back to School Bash

Mike Kubik and his granddaughter enjoy visiting the library!


Another record year!

Chambers County Library System – July, 2014

Summer Reading Snapshot:

Books read – up 87%
Children’s enrollment – up 9%
Teen enrollment – up 15%
Program attendance (kids) – up 20%
Program attendance (teens) – up 4%
Overall circulation – up 29%

46,371 items checked out during July, a 35% increase from 2013.

Which county boasts the biggest bookworms?  After this year, we would definitely have to say Chambers County!  2014 was our biggest Summer Reading in the library’s history, and we’ve got the tired staff to prove it!  The week of July 21st ended the 6-week summer with science and magic shows for the little ones; dodge ball, movies, and crafts for the teens; and wine-making and a painting class for the adults.  To say it’s been a busy summer is an understatement.  But we love it that way. 

A special thanks to our sponsors who donated their time, money, and coupons for the Summer Reading Program.  Without their contributions we would not be able to provide the quality programs we offer each year.  A big thank you to the Friends of the Chambers County Library System for being the major underwriters for the program, and also to NRG, LLC for being this year’s corporate sponsor. 

The Friends of the Chambers County Library System found time to hold a book sale at Mont Belvieu during party week.  With the amount of walk-in traffic we get during the final week of summer reading, the $1,000 made in 3 days was worth it. 

Chambers County Library in Anahuac continued to have very well attended GED and ESL classes.  This is the first year we’ve been able to continue classes during the summer, and it’s because of the grant funding received from the Anahuac Municipal Development District. 

This year, County Librarian Valerie Jensen chose to offer some adult programs during summer that aren’t typically considered your “traditional” library programs.  It’s important not to lose sight of our adult population, and with more and more libraries focusing on adult enrichment programs, summer was the perfect opportunity to give it a shot.  Three programs were held at Anahuac this year beginning with Bayou City Paranormal presenting their findings of the Chamber Home and Dr. Schilling’s office.  Next we held a Wine-Making program with a special guest speaker from Nederland, Jim Catalina.  And finally we held a Painting with a Twist program where participants got to paint and take home a “Neon Heron” masterpiece.  All the programs were well attended with comments for more.  I’m hoping in the near future we continue these types of programs not only at Anahuac, but system-wide. 

Other programs ongoing were book club and movie days – there wasn’t a day that the libraries weren’t hopping!  

County Librarian, Valerie Jensen and Assistant County Librarian, Annie Vass continue working closely with the new library working group for the Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library.  A meeting was held on the 28th to discuss the next stage of design and included Branch Librarian Missy Parham at the meeting.  Renderings of the outside and inside design were shown to the group.  It’s such an exciting time seeing drawings and floor plans slowly take shape. 

And finally, July is the time we prepare budget packets for the upcoming budget year.  Each year we make notes on items or services we would like to add for the citizens of the county.  This year we’re looking long term at capital improvements and personnel.  We’re also asking for an increase in our materials budget to keep up with increasing costs of books, eBooks, audio/visual materials, and other items.

Until next month!


Summer Reading is in full swing!

Chambers County Library System – June, 2014

I love to brag about our library and the great team we have.  We all work very hard to provide the public with the best service possible.  One of our most anticipated and fun times of the year is our annual Summer Reading Program.  We spend several months planning and preparing for summer, and our efforts tend to pay off each year.  Over the past few weeks we have managed to enroll over 1,000 kids and teens in the program, and right at 5,000 people attended programs during the first 3 weeks.  We checked out 49,830 items last month including print and electronic, making it the largest circulating month in the library’s history.  That’s something Chambers County should be proud of! 

Summer started off with “Kickoff Week”, designed to encourage signups while offering different activities the first week of Summer Reading.  If you were anywhere near the library you might have seen Sheriff Hawthorne passing out sno-cones, the Chuck-e-Cheese mouse, Chick-fil-a Cow, Mad Scientist Librarians, Balloons and Cotton candy, and much more!  The buildings and parking lots were filled to capacity with kids and their parents eager to get the summer started. 
The weekly programs we have for kids, teens, and adults involves the time and talents of library staff, volunteers, and/or paid performers.  The Friends of the Chambers County Library System are the major underwriters for our summer program, along with county funds, and donations that the staff solicits during our planning phase of the year.  Without the help of these people, our program could not continue to grow in size and popularity.  One of our new programs this year was the Texas A&M Chemistry Roadshow.  Their goal is to entertain and educate through science.  Their program definitely fell in line with our theme of, FIZZ, BOOM, READ! with over an hour of non-stop science experiments.  They’ll be performing in Mont Belvieu on July 8, at 2pm if you want to check them out. 

The library’s eBook and audiobook service, Overdrive, held a challenge to see if libraries could increase their highest circulating month by 25%.  If so, we would receive $1500 in content credit to purchase additional titles.  Of course we love a challenge, so I told the staff to really push the eBook and audiobook services during the month of June with the hopes we just might hit a peak month.  We needed 755 downloads to reach that goal and we did it!  Our total checkouts for June was 765, which gives us credit to purchase popular titles for all ages.  And we welcome your title requests!

County Librarian Valerie Jensen and Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass attended the monthly library design meeting for the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library in Mont Belvieu.  Annie and I have been working closely with the group to narrow down floor plans and designs.  We’ve also been getting feedback from the Mont Belvieu staff about what they want for the new building.  So much goes into library space planning and design, and it’s such a fun process. 

Adults at Anahuac attended a program presented by Bayou City Paranormal.  Representatives from the group came to share their findings of investigations they did of the Chamber Home, Library, and Dr. Schilling’s office.  The program was standing room only with the group enjoying audio and video clips captured by members of the group.  Want to know if the library is haunted?  Or if General Chambers still looks out his window?  Or if Dr. Schilling has some unfinished business at his office?  Stop by the library and ask one of the staff to share the stories with you.  The next adult programs at Anahuac will take place July 17 at 5:30 with Jim Catalina teaching the basics of wine-making.  And on July 29th at 5:30 for “Painting with a Twist!”  Registration required.  Call 409-267-2554 to sign up and visit us at www.chambers.lib.tx.us.

Until next month!


The calm before the storm....

Chambers County Library System – May, 2014

It’s the calm before the storm as we head into our annual Summer Reading Program.  May is the time of year where we scramble to make sure all our months and months of preparation have paid off.  The staff has worked so hard on this year’s summer activities and we’re looking forward to another banner year!  The branches have done a fantastic job with their decorations this year – if you haven’t seen the walls covered in scientists, slime, and robots, you need to stop by; it’s definitely worth a look!  The theme this year is FIZZ, BOOM, READ! for the kids, Spark a Reaction for the teens, and Literary Elements for the adults.  There’s definitely something for everyone this year.  The fun starts June 9th so sign up early and read often!

With storytime ending the week of the 5th, the libraries still had time to throw in some fun programs.  Each branch had their usual movie nights and teen programs, while the adults continued with their book club meetings.  One of the highlights in May was the kickoff meeting for the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library.  Several representatives from the County, City, Friends of CCLS, and Barbers Hill ISD were in attendance to get their first glimpse at some possibilities for design and floor plans.  The chosen architect is just as excited as we are!  It seems unreal to be at this point when it’s been in the talking phases for so long.  Definitely some goose bumps in that meeting!  After the initial kickoff meeting, things will start to move fast, and we’re more than ready to keep up with their pace.  On the 16th the County Librarian took several staff members on a “field trip” to area libraries.  It was a time for us to see how other buildings were laid out, how they function with staffing, and get some ideas for our new building.  Needless to say we came back with some great input from the very accommodating librarians who shared their beautiful buildings with us.   We ended up being very partial to the Evelyn Meador library in Seabrook.  It was beautiful and exactly the style we’re aiming for.   

Pride in our Young Adults at Anahuac should be felt by all our citizens.  For over 3 months, teens at the library planned and executed “Ana-Con,” a small anime conference which was held on Saturday, May 17th from 1pm-7pm.  Around 75 youth attended from as far away as Hamshire Fannett; they heard about it at the Winnie library and just had to see what it was all about.  The event was very successful and special thanks to LaShebia Haskin for her guidance and encouragement of the teens.    

During the month of May the staff did quite a bit of outreach at the local schools, day cares, and other organizations.  This time of year the public is eager to hear about upcoming activities we have planned for the summer.  The schools look forward to the fun presentations done by the staff to get kids excited about reading!

GED and ESL classes continue to be thriving at the Anahuac branch.  Thanks to the Anahuac Municipal Development District for their funding, the program continues with students eager to continue their education.  Teacher Katherine Wilkins is doing a fantastic job of encouraging the students and it shows in the attendance. 

Speaking of encouraging students, the ongoing after-school tutorials at Anahuac which is supported by Anahuac ISD and United Way of Greater Baytown and Chambers County came to an end with the last day of school.  We are happy to report that of the students who attended tutorials, 9 of the kids met their reading and math standard.  These are kids who had never met those standards before.  Their test scores also went up 200 points which was a great outcome considering the STAAR test just ended.  Special thanks to all the volunteers who spared their valuable time to help the kids.  It was definitely worth the time and effort and we’re looking forward to next school year. 

The Library Advisory Board met on the 17th.  They had a several policies given by County Librarian, Valerie Jensen to discuss for update and approval.  The Advisory Board meets 4 times a year, and is composed of 7 members residing across the county. 

Until next month!

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