Library System – January, 2017
Please forgive the late writing of this monthly report, but January
passed us by as quickly as it came! On
the administrative side of things we spent time with our regular vendors, set
up our 2017 budget, dealt with the day to day operations of running a library
system, and focused on upcoming activities for the new year. We’re looking forward to starting our 2017
purchases in the next couple of weeks.
On the 9th
, the Chambers County Library in
Anahuac celebrated its 9th
year with book club. Members gathered at Iguana Joe’s in Mont
Belvieu to discuss their latest book, Homegoing
. Staff member Jennifer Kellum is in charge of
the Anahuac group and states that the secret to their long success is the unity
that is formed with the members.
“Everyone has different tastes, I get suggestions for titles from the
members and sometimes it’s a hit, sometimes it’s not! But that’s what makes book club great. The members not only discuss their book title
each month, they also use their time to talk about what’s going on in the world
and in their lives. They eat great food,
read something they might not otherwise read, and it’s a fun way for them to
stay involved with the library and community.”
A few upcoming titles for 2017 include, Take me with you by Agatha
, and The Bette Davis Club by Jane Lotter
. The Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in
Winnie is in their 5th
Staff member Mary Abshire leads the group. Upcoming titles include, The Wedding Dress
by Rachel Hauck
, and Hearse and Buggy by Laura Bradford
. The Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch in
Mont Belvieu began an inspirational book club that is also in their 5th
year. Staff member Kellee Traylor will
be taking over the club and will begin to include a wide variety of titles for
the group. Kellee decided to name her
book club, “The Best Lil’ Book Club in Texas”.
Their upcoming book for March is At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen
. Check with your local library for meeting
times and dates. You’ll get hooked on
good books, good company, and good conversation.
The Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie held an
adult movie night on the 12th
GED prep classes also continue there every Tuesday at 5pm.
The teens at Mont Belvieu were treated to a Japanese themed
event called Yukikon. Teens enjoyed
videogames, a ramen noodle bar, crafts, trivia, a drawing contest, and movies. Staff member Shelby Fielding organized the
event and her efforts proved successful with over 20 teens joining in the
Staff member Lori Knapp held a “Kombucha 101” class at Mont
Belvieu on the 24th
. It was
standing room only as participants tasted different types of Kombucha, heard
about its health benefits, and learned how to make their own home brew. Everyone was given a “scoby” to take home,
which is like a starter for the popular tea blend.
At Anahuac, the ever popular crafting classes still boasts a
long waiting list. Monthly adult craft
club is held the 2nd
Wednesday of the month, and a homeschool craft
group meets the 2nd
Thursday of the month. Sewing classes are also held on random times
throughout the year. Registration is
required for crafting classes. Sign up
early to reserve your spot!
And of course each of the libraries offer a weekly Storytime
and Babygarten program. These programs
are targeted towards our tiniest patrons with stories, songs, activities,
crafts and more.
Kombucha 101 at Mont Belvieu
9th Anniversary of Book Club at Anahuac
Adult craft club at Anahuac
Homeschool craft club at Anahuac
Pajama storytime day at Winnie
Teens enjoying Yukicon at Mont Belvieu
This was our busiest September to date at the Chambers County Library
System with over 20,000 items circulated.
September began with programs catered to our tiniest
patrons. Storytime and Babygarten
started the week of September 6th
at all the libraries with crowds
that didn’t disappoint. Our traditional
storytime programs feature songs, stories, crafts and activities for the 6 and
under crowd, while our newest program Babygarten, focuses on music, rhymes, and
developmental skills for babies up to 24 months. Babygarten has proven to be a huge success,
and the children’s staff is to be commended for the fantastic job they have
done planning and implementing programs for each of these age groups. Newest children’s staff member Jinnie
McClennan and Teen Programmer Shelby Fielding attended a Transforming Preschool
Storytime workshop where they learned some tips on early literacy skills and
engaging children with stories.
On the 19th
held our annual Summer Reading planning meeting. This meeting (which used to be
held in February) is our first attempt to strategize and brainstorm ideas for
the upcoming summer reading program. Key staff from all the branches attended
and shared ideas for programs, received important deadline dates, and talked
about new ideas that we can incorporate for the next year.
Zydeco dance classes were back by popular demand at Anahuac
on the 8th
. Staff member
LaShebia Haskin held a Basic Zydeco dance class to get Anahuac residents
prepared for Gatorfest. The meeting room
was packed with people learning the basic twists and turns. Another class is scheduled for November.
Homeschool programs are now offered at each branch in the
system. Anahuac’s monthly craft club
allows for students of all ages to get creative with unique crafts. Winnie and Mont Belvieu hold a monthly geography
program featuring a specific country each month. Fun facts and activities are shared with the
group as they travel to different countries each month. Mont Belvieu also held a Homeschool
Orientation for anyone interested in learning more about library resources
available to the public. Providing
programs for homeschoolers has proven to give families in the area different
opportunities in their day-to-day learning.
Nothing we do is curriculum based, but done to supplement the home
education done by parents. Our job as
librarians is to provide the space, the resources, and promote library services
to all groups that come in the library.
County Librarian Valerie Jensen taught a book mending class
for staff members assigned to repair books.
There are several specialized techniques for repairing books with torn
pages, broken spines, and even tattered corners. Special supplies are ordered yearly so that
we can prolong the life of some of our most popular books.
The Chambers County Library in Anahuac and Juanita Hargraves
Memorial Branch in Winnie held Hispanic Heritage Month programs for the public,
which is traditionally celebrated September 15-October 15. Traditional foods, crafts, and music were
enjoyed, while the staff presented facts about the five Latin American countries
that celebrate their independence each year.
Both programs had packed rooms and it was great to see patrons come
together and be educated on heritage and culture.
September 25 - October 1 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.
Several staff members from
Anahuac set up at Gatorfest to represent the library in the educational tent.
Every year we try to have a presence at the local festivals or other outreach
opportunities. It’s important for the public to see our faces outside the
In personnel news, Kellee Traylor joins the CCLS team at the
Mont Belvieu location. Kellee will be
providing front desk relief as well as assisting with programs as needed. Kellee’s first day was on the 28th
so stop by and say hi!
In historical news, A. Lynette Parsons was hired as a part-time
employee to help take on the task of digitizing and cataloging historical items
from the museum and library. The library
acts as a liaison to the Historical Commission and with the museum temporarily
closed, this allows us to bring some order to the items inside the building so
that the public can have access to viewing images, artifacts, and documents
that have been hidden away for many years.
Babygarten at Anahuac
Banned Books display at Mont Belvieu
Kids enjoyed the library booth at Gatorfest!
Storytime at Winnie with Mrs. Yolie
Storytime at Mont Belvieu with special guest Lori Kaiser
Library System – August, 2016
Summer Reading might be over, but the staff didn’t have much
of a break before fall program planning began.
Even with our usual movie days and book club meetings, we managed to
work in a good bit of activity. With the
school year beginning, our change-over from summer visitors to students was
almost unnoticed. Add to that a board
meeting, fundraising events, and interviews for after-school help, and you have
a busy month!
To start the month, County Librarian Valerie Jensen and
Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass attended budget hearings for the
library. With the library’s 2017 budget
already submitted, this hearing allowed us the opportunity to talk in more
detail about our requests. Any questions
the commissioner or judge might have, we could answer at that time. We won’t know the outcome until later next
month. Until then we keep our fingers
On the 4th
, the Friends of the Chambers County
Library System held a fundraiser at Panera Bread in Baytown. Proceeds from sales would go back to the
Friends as long as a flyer was presented at the time of purchase. A small profit was raised, and the money will
go towards their ongoing efforts to raise money for programs and other
events. A second fundraiser was held at
Mont Belvieu the week of the 15th
Scholastic Book Fairs have traditionally been held at school libraries,
but the Friends decided to sponsor a fair at the new Sam and Carmena Goss
Memorial Branch Library. With the sales
totaling $1800, that gave the Friends a profit of $400.
Back-to-School programs are always a huge deal at the
libraries, and this year was no exception.
Anahuac held a water-themed program with inflatables donated by All
Summer Long in Mont Belvieu. Sno-cones were
served by Friends volunteers, and kids enjoyed kiddie kickball, hydro blasters,
waterslides, and more. The Anahuac
Volunteer Fire Department was on hand to cool down the kids, and
representatives with the Texas Children’s Health Plan passed out t-shirts and
other goodies. Winnie held a Black Light
Bash with games in the dark, refreshments, dancing, and more! Staff member Mary Abshire had black light
coloring for the adults, which turned out to be a big hit! Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge came to Mont
Belvieu for their back-to-school program.
Stephanie Martinez was on hand to talk about animals and do a fun craft
with the kids.
On the 9th
, the Library Advisory Board met for its
quarterly meeting. A few items were up
for discussion this month and board members are always eager to voice their
concern and feedback on library policies.
During a member’s term on the board, they become very familiar with the
fundamentals of the library.
GED prep classes are back in session at Anahuac and
Winnie. Registration started the week of
. Classes are held in
Anahuac on Monday and Wednesday, 6-9pm and at Winnie on Tuesdays, 5-7pm. For information on registration, please
contact your local branch.
On the 17th
, the staff at the Juanita Hargraves
Memorial Branch Library held a “Dog Pawty” for patrons and their 4-legged
friends. Even with the rain that day, there
were dogs in costume, a therapy dog named Baxter, a dog photoshoot, and doggy
bag treats. Makenna Castaneda, the
handler for Baxter, was on hand to supervise the thirty-minute reading sessions
with kids who had registered. Baxter was
very well behaved and attentive to all the kids who read.
Master Gardener’s A. Lynette Parsons presented a program at
Mont Belvieu on the 18th
topic was “Get the dirt on dirt”, with tips on soil preparation for fall
And finally, the Children’s programmers met to brainstorm
ideas for the upcoming storytime season.
This year also begins Babygarten, an infant-24 month program for the
tiniest of patrons. Babygarten is held
at each branch along with traditional storytimes for the preschool ages. Our newest kid staffer is Jinnie McLennan
from Mont Belvieu, and she was able to soak up some knowledge from our seasoned
storytime pros from Anahuac and Winnie.
The ladies enjoyed sharing ideas in their effort to provide quality kids’
programs throughout the school year.
Baxter the therapy dog
Back to School splash at Anahuac
Friends members Jean Abshier Forrest and Elaine Byrd
Miss Jinnie at storytime in Mont Belvieu
Library System – July, 2016
Children’s enrollment – up 12%
Total circulation June/July – 56,751
7761 people attended programs at the Chambers County
Summer Reading Program is in the books!
Over 150 thank you letters will soon go out to all the businesses,
individuals, and groups who supported our program this year. During our six week Summer Reading event we
held 72 programs system
wide. Another record for us!
and planning our summer program starts each year in October. We meet as a group early enough to brainstorm
ideas and get a jump on the direction we want to go. We talk about program ideas, themes, rules,
sponsors, supplies, and much more. The
staff turns in their details to the administrative side over the next several
months. This gives them time to plan
with a set schedule, and once summer arrives, the bulk of the hard work has
been done. Once Kickoff Week arrives,
we’re ready to go. We’re already setting
a date for the 2017 planning meeting.
It’s never ending around here!
we are given extra help thanks to the County Commissioners. Nine high school and college students were
employed at the library system this summer.
They provided much needed help at programs, and spent the majority of
their time putting up thousands of returned books! We appreciate the court providing us with
this extra help.
Commissioners’ Court on the 12th, Assistant County Librarian Annie
Vass recognized Joseph Redou with NRG. NRG
has been the main sponsor for the Summer Reading program for the past several
years. Their contribution allows the
library system to continue to provide quality programs to the public.
In July we
welcomed a new staff member at the Chambers County Library in Anahuac. Sue Hawthorne joins the team and will be
responsible for providing much needed front desk help. Sue comes to us from Anahuac Middle School
where she was responsible for overseeing the library there.
finishing touches for the first phase of renovations at Anahuac have been
completed. Public computers have been
relocated, along with moving some shelving around to allow more open space for
Chad Chesmark with readers at Anahuac!
New staff member Sue Hawthorne having fun at the Summer Reading Party
Children's Librarian Michelle Mims ready to serve cupcakes!
Teen Summer Reading Party at Winnie!
Mont Belvieu staff with magician, James Wand!
Chambers County Library System – June, 2016
Summer Reading is in full force at the Chambers County Library System! Our first week is considered “Kickoff Week” where the focus is aimed at registering kids and teens for Summer Reading. Without a doubt, it was a success with over 1,000 kids joining during week one – a 10% increase from 2015. Kickoff Week featured several elected officials and special guests who joined the fun passing out sno-cones, popcorn, and balloons, and had the chance to mingle with kids and their parents. Other activities during kickoff week included hot dogs with the Sheriff, Deputy Dan and the K9 unit, Spirit day with the local school mascots and football players, Zoofari, and even helicopters!
The weeks that followed included programs with Toro, the mascot for the Houston Texans, followed by a magic show with Ronald McDonald.
Teen enrollment was also up with right at 200 teens participating. And we can’t forget our adults who have really been hitting the books this year! Each week the branches hold a weekly drawing for teens and adults who turn in their completed raffle bookmarks with a chance to win some prizes donated by local businesses. Fun and unique programs for the adults included making your own hula hoop, cardio class, walking programs, and nutrition classes.
To kick off summer reading for teens, a county-wide event was held on the 10th at White’s Park. This collaborative effort of the library system’s young adult programmers consisted of dodgeball, water wars, relay races, and other fun games. Over 30 teens turned out for the event. It was great to see teens from across the county come together for some good competition!
In 2015, we decided to change the direction of our program to focus on getting the community more involved in their library. One of the ways we did that was by offering a bigger variety of programs for the teens and adults. We also brought back the game boards for the kids. This let them have some extra responsibility by coloring in spaces each day they read for 20 minutes, and offering incentives along the way. This trend has continued to prove successful and popular with our public.
On the 10th, the Friends of the Chambers County Library System held a special meeting to discuss ongoing fundraising ideas. An upcoming event they have planned is at the Panera Bread in Baytown. On Thursday, August 4th between 4pm and 8pm, a percentage of the proceeds will go towards the Friends. Our Friends are the major underwriters for programs like Summer Reading. You must present a flyer when you go, so pick one up at any of the libraries or print one from our website www.chambers.lib.tx.us.
Local author Tammy Hale held a book signing on the 18th. She was on hand to autograph and sell her debut book, The Burning Kiss. Tammy is an Anahuac native and currently offers her book through Amazon.
We rounded out June with 285 new patron cards and 23,358 people walking through our doors. It’s a busy time at the library and we wouldn’t have it any other way.