Library System – March, 2015
Each month the library system compiles a report with
specific statistical information. How
many books did we check out? How many
reference questions were we asked? How
many Interlibrary Loan books did we receive?
How many kids attended a program?
And the list goes on. At the end
of the year, we take these monthly reports and gather all the info along with
other required data and send to the Texas State Library for review. As long as the county meets the local funding
requirements for our assigned population, and our collection is the appropriate
size per capita, we are certified as an “Accredited” library for another
Thanks to the Friends of CCLS, the items they purchased on
the staff’s “wish list” have started to come in. The wish list includes small items that we
don’t have county funds to purchase, so our Friends help out when they
can. So far this year they’ve purchased
a rug for the children’s section at Anahuac, new book carts, barcode scanners,
puppets for story time, and a few other items.
We’re definitely thankful for our Friends!
Jared the library turtle reads a book on
the new rug in the children’s section at Anahuac.
Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass and I did some
outreach on the 26th
at the county’s Health and Wellness Fair. It was a great opportunity to show off the
resources the library has that can be used for wellness points for county
employees. We featured health and
wellness books, magazines, and DVDs. We
also passed out fruit donated by Food Town, which seemed to be a hit!
Vass at the county’s Health
and Wellness fair
Earlier in the month we visited PBK, the architects in
charge of the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library at their office
in downtown Houston. We spent half the
day choosing fabrics to go on all the furniture. We’ve gone with a green/orange/blue color
scheme that we think will flow well and look inviting. Branch Librarian Missy Parham joined us and
did a great job helping narrow down just the right colors – she also enjoyed
seeing her future desk! Construction has
begun, and it’s extremely exciting to see progress being made.
Entry to the construction site at the Sam
and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library
Staff member Jennifer Kellum held a unique program in March
in honor of Women’s History month. She’s
in charge of adult programming at the main branch and has done a great job
coming up with different ideas. This
program allowed women to invite another woman in their life who has been an
inspiration to them. The program
featured a talk about women’s history, attendees spoke about an inspirational
woman in their lives, and a small brunch was served. Jennifer also pointed out the women who were
in attendance who help with book sales, after school tutorials, or volunteer
efforts at the library.
Women's History month program at Anahuac
During Spring break the library system held several programs
for the kids and teens to stay busy during their week off. A movie marathon, Spring Fling, Family craft
day, and other fun activities provided hours of entertainment for all
Spring Break also coincided with Teen Tech Week. Teen Tech Week is a week when libraries make
the time to showcase all of the great digital resources and services that are
available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st
century careers. Winnie featured a
“Digital Footprints” program, while Anahuac teens enjoyed a DIY digital craft
County Librarian Valerie Jensen was invited by the ESA
Sorority’s Literature and Drama department to speak at their monthly
meeting. About 20 women, (some of them
regular library patrons) gathered to hear about the library’s latest services
and programs. The women were very
enthusiastic about book club, and learning more about the downloadable books
offered for free to the public. It’s
great to share what the library does to the various community groups in the
March ended with a book sale at the Chambers County Library
in Anahuac. Their 4 day sale allowed
customers a little extra time to rummage through all the donations that we’re
unable to keep. Book sales continue to
be one of the Friends’ most lucrative fundraisers for the past 20 years.
Until next month!
Valerie Jensen, County Librarian
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
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
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!
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
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
circulation: 230,030 – 6% increase from
Total walk in
traffic: 140,815 – 2% increase from 2013
attendance: 17,044 – 16% increase from
logons: 5,294 – 17% increase from 2013
usage: 16,742 - 51% increase from 2013
Some highlights of 2014
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
Three new staff members joined the CCLS
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.
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!
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
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
Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch Librarian Cindy Alegria
attended her final Small Library Management course on the 3rd
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.
Mont Belvieu patrons enjoy the Digital Bookmobile
Tweens at Winnie
having fun at the Diary of a Wimpy Kid program
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
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
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
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.
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!
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
Kids enjoy the snapping alligator at Gatorfest!
Kids enjoy the Homeschool Science program at Mont Belvieu