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.
Library System – May, 2016
Over 11,000 people visited the county libraries in May. A 12% increase from last year. Typically, we’d say May is our slow month,
but with the excitement of summer reading, and the new Sam and Carmena Goss
traffic increasing, we’re quickly seeing Chambers County residents use all of the
libraries in the county more than before.
Children’s story hours went on hiatus the week of May 2
while we printed and distributed over 5,000 flyers to the schools about our
scheduled events for June and July. We
do a huge percentage of our system’s annual circulation during this period, as
the children pour in to our programs and pick out books to fill their summer
hours. Our corporate sponsors increased
by 13% this year showing the continued growing support from the community. This year our plans include kangaroos,
sno-cones, magic, movies, tie dye, videogames, hula hooping, among other
scheduled programs. We’re looking
forward to another fun and successful summer!
GED classes will continue this summer every Monday and
Wednesday at 6pm in Anahuac. Classes
begin June 6. ESL classes ended for the
summer and will resume in the fall with their regular Tuesday and Thursday
May is the time of year 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 asking for
additional online services, an increase for some capital projects, and
additional money in our materials budget.
We always ask for items we need
order to maintain our level of service our patrons have grown used to.
In programming news, County Librarian Valerie Jensen taught
an Introduction to Cheese-making class to the Anahuac book club group on the 10th
. Samples were given, and each person made
their own mozzarella cheese during class.
The staff at the Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch was
overrun with tours from the local school.
Eager teachers and their kiddos scheduled tours throughout the month to
learn the lay-out of the new library.
The kids had the chance to hear about summer reading, see the Children’s
Activity Room, and hear about all the resources available to them throughout
their school year.
The staff at Anahuac held several craft programs for adults and
kids. Adult craft club continues to be a
standing room only program. It’s
definitely the place to be in town on the 2nd
Wednesday of the
month! The last sewing session with Mrs.
Brown was held on the 25th
Her classes will continue in the fall.
Homeschool students were also treated to a summer craft on the 18th
. The homeschool clientele continues to grow,
and making them aware of the resources we have in our library system is of
Anahuac teens had a “Just Dance” program on the 5th
. The newest version of the game was generously
purchased by some of our Friends members.
Teens at Mont Belvieu enjoyed a game day with board games and
Cheese-making with Valerie Jensen
Children's Librarian Jinnie McLennan at Mont Belvieu
Craft club at Anahuac
Tours with Barbers Hill ISD kids with Kara DeLaughter
Last storytime at Winnie
Sewing 101 with Mrs. Brown
Despite the closure at Mont Belvieu and the remodeling at
Anahuac, the libraries were still busy as usual. Mont Belvieu remained closed through the
month of March so we could finalize the last minute details of moving over to
the new building. The Anahuac remodel is
complete with only a few finishing touches remaining. We’re excited to have the opportunity to not
only have a new building at Mont Belvieu, but to get a ‘face lift’ where it was
desperately needed in Anahuac.
March 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 the libraries with our Cat
in the Hat costumes (courtesy of the Friends of CCLS). Kids enjoyed hearing Dr. Seuss stories, activities
and games. Easter parties rounded out
the month with egg hunts, crafts, games, and even a visit from the
Easter Bunny himself!
The Friends of CCLS held a Gently Used Book Sale at
Anahuac starting on March 30. This 3 day
sale brought in several hundred dollars from our faithful buyers who look
forward to the new books we get donated throughout the year. The next sale will be in December at Anahuac
and Winnie. With the new Sam and Carmena
Goss Memorial Branch, Mont Belvieu has an ongoing bookstore staffed with
volunteers. Hours vary each week.
In other programming news, Adult Programmer Jennifer
Kellum held her 2nd
annual Women’s History Month program at
Anahuac. The group enjoyed brunch and a
movie. Jennifer also continues to lead a
Walk for Wellness group, which meets every Monday from 5:30-6:30. The teen staff at Anahuac and Winnie continued
their regular programs during March.
Activities included canvas painting, beach crafts, and anime club. Craft programs are also popular among the adults
with craft club at standing room only in Anahuac. The craft for the adults in May is a wooden
pallet picture frame. Registration is
required, call the library at 409-267-2554 for more information.
The county employee health and benefits fair, held on the 24th
was an opportunity for the library system to showcase our health related
resources. Our booth featured a variety
of exercise, disease, and health-oriented DVDs and books. We also managed to work in a few items of
interest from our general collection, like our online database programs for
downloading audiobooks, and other online services. Quite a few employees who stopped by were
very interested in what we can offer them!
Finally, the library received the ‘all clear’ on our annual report to
the state library. This means that we
have reached exemplary standards with our personnel, finance, technology, and
service. 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 maintaining high standards and going above and beyond
to stay current in library trends.
Tween/Teen craft at Anahuac
Assistant County Librarian, Annie Vass at the county employee health fair
Dr. Seuss storytime at Anahuac!
Tween beach craft at Winnie!
Library System – February, 2016
February began with a book sale at the Juanita Hargraves
Memorial Branch in Winnie. Several
volunteers assisted with the setup and sale, bringing in a few hundred dollars
that will go towards library programs and events. The public always enjoys the sales at the
branches! We are also anticipating great
things with the permanent bookstore opening at the new Mont Belvieu site
Remodeling at the main branch in Anahuac continues. As with any project, you can expect a few
hiccups along the way, but we expect things to be completed in about a week
with new office spaces and flooring.
Mont Belvieu inches closer to completion as the West Chambers Branch
closes its doors in March. We still have
several details to finalize before we open the doors to the public.
The Library Advisory Board met on the 9th
update and discuss a couple library policies.
The Board plays a vital role in shaping policy based on staff
recommendation. Not only do they discuss
policies, they are also the eyes and ears in the community to provide feedback
from the public. Their next meeting will
be held May 3 in Anahuac.
The Anahuac and Winnie branches held after school
Valentine’s parties for the younger crowd.
Stories, songs, crafts and fun were provided by the children’s staff.
Other fun programs in February included:
FREE Cardio class provided by Janice Jircik with
the Wellness Center at Bayside
Spring Gardening with master gardeners A.
Lynette Parsons and Susan Roshto
Mother/daughter spa night with special guests
from Merle Norman and Paper, Rock, Scissors
On the 20th
Children’s staff members Michelle Mims and Yolie Belt attended a workshop at
Lee College for early educators.
Motivational speaker Luis Hernandez provided 4 hours of instruction on
early childhood development, and how certain skills can enhance the classroom (and
Assistant County Librarian Annie
Vass, Assistant Technical Librarian Jennifer Kellum and myself attended a
webinar on the 17th
on the digitization software that will be used
for museum items. The next phase of
historical work will be to make items of local historical significance accessible
to the public. This will be an ongoing
project for library staff.
Interviews continue for 2 open
positions within the library system due to the growth and demand we’ve
experienced in the last couple of years.
A 12hpw position at Anahuac for front desk relief, and 24hpw position at
Mont Belvieu for a Children’s Librarian are currently posted on the library’s
Empty shelves at Mont Belvieu
Lil' berries storytime at Winnie
Spa night at Winnie
Remodeling at Anahuac
Library System – January, 2016
January seemed to pass us by without warning! Usually, this time of year we’ve had time to visit
with all our vendors, get the 2016 files in order, and focus on activities for
the new year. But we’ve been spending
time on the administrative side playing catch up from the work that comes with day
to day operations, new library construction, and remodeling. It’s been busy and hectic, but overall we
could not be happier with the results we’ll be getting in the months to
come. In Mont Belvieu, the Sam and
Carmena Goss Memorial Branch construction continues on schedule. Within the next few weeks we will have carpet
and furniture, then shelving along with the move to follow. A grand opening date will soon be
announced! The gang at Anahuac has been
experiencing some construction of their own.
Walls are being demoed, and soon there will be some noticeable, and much
needed changes. We do want to thank the
public for their patience with the noise and mess – it’s definitely your tax
dollars at work!
We did manage to squeeze in a vendor or two to order new
books. Our new budget year allows us to
purchase the latest titles, fill in holes where we have missing books, and
build the collection so that we’re meeting the standards required by the
February 6-8 we closed the Winnie branch to continue
inventory and RFID tagging. The tagging
is required as part of the new self-checkout system and added security that
will be implemented at Mont Belvieu, and later at Anahuac and Winnie. With the amount of reserve items that we tote
back and forth throughout the county, it’s important that all items be tagged
and ready for checkout.
On the 23rd
, the Friends of the Chambers County
Library System held their annual meeting at Anahuac. 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 2015 Employee of the Year was selected with the honor going to Lori
Knapp in Mont Belvieu. Lori has been with
the library since 2008 as a Library Technician.
Before starting at the library, Lori was an active library user and
Library Advisory Board member. She is
responsible for adult programming, cataloging, and front desk assistance. 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. The Friends were approached recently with a
donation in memory of long time library user, Fran Mamich. Fran was a Barbers Hill ISD teacher, library
user, and those who knew her, knew her love for children and reading. Fran’s husband and friends toured the new
library site to determine the best way to memorialize Fran, and decided on funding
the furnishings for the children’s activity room.
GED and ESL classes continue at Anahuac, and on January 12
the Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie started offering weekly GED
classes. So far the response has been
great. Classes for GED run similar to a
college semester, and the next registration period will be advertised at the
library and the local newspapers. GED is
funded by the adult education program through College of the Mainland. ESL is funded by the Anahuac Municipal
Development District. Classes are held
at Anahuac every Tuesday 6-9 for beginners, and Thursday 6-9 for advanced. Call the library to find out more information
on any of these classes.
Programs continued at Anahuac and Winnie while Mont Belvieu remains
on pause with theirs as they prepare for the upcoming move. The Mont Belvieu gang is chomping at the bit
to start back up with storytime and other exciting programs they have in the
works. At Anahuac, as part of a New
Year, New You series, they held a basic makeup tips and tricks program. On February 18th
at 5:30pm, the
next program in the series is a free cardio class presented by Janice Jircik
with the Wellness Center at Bayside.
Spanish storytime was held on the 12th
, and craft club on the
At Winnie, an “Intro to Guitar” for the tween and teen
audiences, adult coloring program, and their ongoing Genealogy Interest Group
were just a few programs held in addition to the regular storytime and movie nights.
And finally, Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass and I just
finished submitting the annual report to the Texas State Library. Our increases for 2015 included database
usage, program attendance, and wireless usage.
Our circulation is a healthy 214,521 for 2015! These figures translate to even more
residents utilizing what the county provides.
It’s a great use of tax dollars for many citizens.
Until next month!
Valerie Jensen, County Librarian
Employee of the year Lori Knapp with Friends president Jean Forrest
ESL students at the Anahuac branch
Friends of Fran Mamich touring the new library site
Library System – November, 2015
November started out with vendors knocking on our doors to
schedule meetings to share their latest books and products. The select group of vendors we deal with have
some great selections for both our print and digital collections. Nothing gets delivered until January 1, so
the public has to wait a couple months before the new stuff gets cataloged,
processed and routed to the branches. It’s
definitely worth the wait!
On the 10th
, the Library Advisory Board met in
Anahuac for their quarterly meeting. The
group approved an update to the small and large equipment policy. The board meets quarterly, with their next meeting
In programming news, Anahuac held their monthly craft club,
which continues to increase in popularity thanks to the impressive crafts
planned by Branch Librarian, Aquilia De la Cruz. Each month a craft is selected, supplies
provided, and patrons spend the hour crafting, socializing, and brainstorming
ideas for the next month. Young Adult
Librarian Lashebia Haskin held a teen writing workshop on November 5th
. Local author, Lesa Boutin was the guest presenter
for the program. Lesa is part of the
Writers in the Schools program out of Houston.
Her creative and inspiring methods bring out wonderful stories in even
the most reluctant writers. GED and ESL
classes continue each week, along with monthly anime club, movie day, and book
Anahuac teens with local author Lesa Boutin
The Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie held a
coloring class for adults led by staff member Mary Abshire. This unique program provided a relaxing way for
adults to “de-stress”. The response was
great, and another program is scheduled soon.
Young Adult Librarian Kim Silcox held a Diary of a Wimpy Kid program to
celebrate the release of the newest book in the series. Kids enjoyed book trivia, drawing, and other
book related activities. Kim also took a
group teens to the release of the new Mockingjay movie on the 22nd
. Movie field trips are popular with the teens,
especially when it’s a high anticipated book to movie release.
Winnie teens ready for the Mockingjay movie!
Book club continues at all the Chambers County Library
System branches. If you’re wondering
what to read, want a suggestions, or just want to hang out with some really fun
people, check out your local library’s meeting times and dates. Current reading selections for the month of
December are: At Anahuac, Girl on the
; At Winnie, Girl on the Train
; At Mont Belvieu, All she
Storytime also continues at the branches. Each week there are themed storytimes to engage
the children in reading, enjoy crafts, songs, and more. The staff does a great job with the little
ones, and their faces say it all!
Construction continues at the Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial
Branch Library. The weather hasn’t been
favorable, causing several bad weather days, but despite the rain things are
moving along. The latest completion date
has now been moved to February. We’ve
put a temporary pause to some of our regular programs at the West Chambers
Branch in Mont Belvieu. A couple of
projects are being completed such as book tagging, weeding, and getting items
ready to pack up and move. Once we get
to the actual transition, the library should not be closed more than a couple
of weeks. The staff is more than ready to
move into their new space, and I know the public is just as excited!
Entry into the new library
September was National Library Card Sign-Up month. And how fitting that the West Chambers Branch
in Mont Belvieu hit a milestone reaching over 5,000 cardholders! Each month we add over 100 new cards in the
system. By issuing family cards, the
number of actual library users is more than double the cardholders on
file. Currently, the Chambers County
Library System has 10,523 cardholders with an average of 3 people per
account. That’s almost the population of
Growth has brought great things
to Chambers County, and libraries are definitely in demand!
As the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch continues
with construction, we have also continued adding additional staff as the county
budget allows. Last year we requested
and were approved a full time position.
That position was filled by Shelby Fielding and she’s settled in nicely
and continues to be trained to prepare for the transition to the new
building. This past month we added
Sabrina Galloway as the Children’s Librarian.
We were also approved for an additional full time and part-time position
in our 2016 budget. The full time
position will be filled by existing staff, and we’ll start the search for the
part-time position January 1. Moving
into a new building leaves us with some unknowns in terms of program
expectations. On average, the West
Chambers Branch has 10-15 programs each month.
Once we settle into the new building, we’ll have a better idea what to
expect since we anticipate increases in checkouts and foot traffic. Being closer in proximity to the schools
leads us to believe we’ll be concentrating more on after-school programs. The best part is seeing the direction this
new library takes us. Construction
continues, and due to the 31 bad weather days claimed, the latest completion
date had to be moved from November to January 15. It will definitely be a Happy New Year!
The Chambers County Library in Anahuac was at capacity in
their programming for September. Over 25
programs, including GED and ESL took place this past month. GED classes are funded through the College of
the Mainland in Texas City as part of their Adult Education program. Their service area includes Chambers County,
and they’ve been reaching out to mid-county, as well as Winnie, to assist the
adult population. ESL classes have
expanded to a beginner and advanced course this year due to increasing demand
for the classes. ESL is funded through a
grant from the Anahuac Municipal Development District. Many of the students who have completed ESL
have moved on to GED prep classes. It’s
a wonderful thing to see the personal growth of these students. They’re finding jobs and working to
contribute to the county in a positive way.
One of the more popular programs during September was ‘Zydeco
101’ taught by staff member LaShebia Haskin.
LaShebia had over 20 people at the library learning the basics of Zydeco
dance just in time for Gatorfest.
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 library!
County Librarian Valerie Jensen and Assistant County
Librarian Annie Vass held a Canines and
event on the 17th
This program was a ticketed event done in partnership with the Friends
of the Library with proceeds split between the new library in Mont Belvieu and
the Baytown Humane Society. This event
was held on the library lawn and attendees were able to mingle with other dog
lovers while enjoying music, drinks, and pet photographs. A great time was had
by all, and we anticipate doing it again next year!
The Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie held
programs for the tween and teen crowds.
Duct Tape projects and DIY whiteboards were among the crafts. Movie nights, story time, computer classes,
and book club were also in full force.
We’ve pulled back on programs at Mont Belvieu so that we can
concentrate on more projects that need to be completed before we move. But the teens were able to have an Ultimate
Frisbee program outside on the library property. Movie night, story time, and book club will
continue through the rest of the year.
On the 23rd
, the teen and adult program staff met
at Anahuac. Once a year we try to find
time for staff members who specialize in age specific programs to meet and
share ideas so they can prepare for new activities in the months to come. Adult programs are slowly being added to the
library system’s calendar each month at all branches, so be on the lookout for
some fun (and unique) activities for the over 18 crowd.
Storytime officially started back the week of September 7th
. Staff member Jennifer Kellum filled in at
Mont Belvieu until the Children’s Librarian position was filled. Special thanks to her for helping out! Each branch holds a weekly story time
focusing on stories, crafts, songs, and movement exercises. Each year the crowds seem to grow, and the
parents tend to have just as much fun as the little ones. Winnie’s Children’s Librarian Yolie Belt
introduced an “iStorytime” where she included iPads/Technology as part of the
program. Children’s staff member
Michelle Mims attended iStorytime to get ideas of her own for Anahuac. You’re never too young (or old) to learn
technology…and the library’s the perfect spot to learn.
Canines & Cocktails at Anahuac
"Dot" story time at Winnie
Ultimate Frisbee at Mont Belvieu
Anahuac staff at Gatorfest