Library System – March, 2014
March came and went in a flash and the libraries were
buzzing as usual with almost 10,000 people coming through our doors. It’s such a wonderful thing to see the amount
of people visiting, but I shouldn’t be surprised with the talented and
dedicated staff we have providing our county with such quality programs and
Speaking of being busy, this time of year our newly
purchased books with our new budget have all been cataloged. But over the last couple of years, other
services such as Interlibrary Loan, book sales, inventory, summer reading
preparation, etc. have picked up and overshadowed this priority. People don’t always think about the work and
time that goes into getting all those pretty books, DVDs, Interlibrary Loans,
audiobooks, and other materials to their hands for checkout. But it takes a great deal of effort and eye
for detail. We’ve been forced to take an
hour here and there from an existing staff at Anahuac to help lessen the load
from our Technical Services Librarian, Kathy Fielding so we’re able to stay on
task. With the upcoming new library on
the west side, all these “behind the scenes” jobs will increase and so will the
need for additional personnel in that department. I have to give a huge thank you to Kathy who
has done a stellar job at keeping Tech Services running smoothly and those
popular best sellers on the shelves in a timely manner.
March started with our annual “Read Across America” programs
celebrating the anniversary of the birth of children’s author, Dr. Seuss. Each year on or near March 2, the birthday of
Dr. Seuss is celebrated by encouraging adults and children to read together. All 3 Chambers County libraries celebrated
Dr. Seuss’ birthday with a special visit from Cat in the Hat and celebrated
with reading some Dr. Seuss, activities, games, and other fun activities.
After-school tutorials continue at the Chambers County
Library in Anahuac. Students attend
weekly tutorial sessions led by volunteer tutors and library staff. Volunteers are always needed on a rotating
basis to help the middle school aged students with their math and reading
homework. Contact Aquilia De la Cruz if
you are interested at, 409-267-2554.
Teens at Anahuac and
Mont Belvieu were treated to a field trip to see the popular film adaptation of
Divergent. Divergent is the first in a
popular book trilogy for teens, and our reserve list is pages long!
In January, GED and ESL classes were put on hiatus. We attempted to seek alternate funding to
support the program and thanks to the Anahuac Municipal Development District,
they have agreed to fund the program for the next year. GED and ESL classes have always been well
attended and much needed, and with this grant we’ll be able to purchase new and
updated materials for students. If
you’re interested in attending any of these classes, please contact the Anahuac
branch at 409-267-2554. Classes will
resume May 5.
The County Employee Health and Benefits Fair, held on the 26th,
was an opportunity for the library system to preach to our peers. Our library 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 were very
interested in what we can offer them. We
also managed to get a donation of fruit from Food Town in Baytown. Apples, bananas, and oranges were quite a hit
with our visitors!
Until next month!
Assistant County Librarian, Annie Vass at the Employee Health Fair
Mont Belvieu kids enjoy storytime!
Anahuac kids enjoy Dr. Seuss!
Library System – January, 2014
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. It’s
always exciting when we get the opportunity to fulfill all our patron book
In programming news, the Chambers County Library in Anahuac
celebrated 6 years of book club. The
ladies had dinner at Luna’s and discussed their latest read, Where’d you go,
. Book club has quickly
become a popular program at all 3 branches.
Winnie and Mont Belvieu’s clubs recently turned 1! Besides book club, the adults had several
other programs to choose from. Count
Librarian, Valerie Jensen taught a beginning cheese making class with over 30
attendees. Everyone enjoyed a sample,
and even got to make their own homemade mozzarella. Basic computer classes (also in Spanish),
craft club, and genealogy rounded out the month.
The teens also had their share of fun. Winnie tweens and teens had crafts and a
movie day, while Mont Belvieu held Yukikon, a Japanese Winter Ball complete
with video games, food, and music. Over
30 teens attended, and a fun time was had by all. It’s great to how programs that started at
one branch have spread in popularity throughout the county. Means we’re doing something right!
The new library working group for the West Chambers Branch
library is made up of County Librarian Valerie Jensen, Assistant County
Librarian Annie Vass, Commissioner Gary Nelson, County Engineer Bobby Hall,
Superintendent Greg Poole, and City Representatives Bryan Easum and Nathan
Watkins. For the past year, we’ve been
doing quite a bit of behind the scenes work to make the Sam and Carmena Goss
Memorial Branch Library a reality. Last
week the final Interlocal agreement was passed, and soon the fun starts with
floor plans and design. This is
definitely a dream come true for yours truly, not to mention the staff, and
citizens on the West side. Valerie and
Annie also attended a webinar with the State Library about the updates with the
Annual Report, and also spent time finalizing some local community grants as
well as grants with the Texas Book Festival.
Our plates stay pretty full!
In personnel news, we recently added 2 new Librarian
Technicians to our team. Becky Storey is
providing some much needed front desk relief at Mont Belvieu, and Shelby
Fielding has jumped in at Anahuac taking on computer classes, craft club, and
fills in at book club when needed.
A big thank you to Building Maintenance and IT for their
fast help setting up the Anahuac meeting room.
It’s now complete with a mounted projector and surround sound to make
movie nights even more enjoyable. Also,
a television plays most days for patrons to enjoy the news or other educational
channels. This room is one of the few
places available for public meetings during and after library hours. The room books quickly, so call in advance to
reserve your time and date. Don’t forget
you must have a library card! Stop by
and take advantage of the library’s new “media room” and enjoy a nice quiet
Finally, it’s that time of year where tax forms are in high
demand. This year the IRS is delivering
forms and booklets as they become available.
Booklets are starting to trickle in, so it shouldn’t be much longer
before we have them at the libraries. Check
back or call to check the status of tax form and booklet deliveries.
Adults having fun making cheese!
Mont Belvieu kids enjoying storytime!
Winnie kids enjoying storytime!
Chambers County Library System - December report
Total database logons:
Public computer logons:
One of the most
popular questions asked by the public seems to always be, “Are people still
checking out print books?”. The answer
is always a resounding “YES!”. Our
eBook/audiobook circulation continues to rise each month, and so does our print
circulation. In 2013, print circulation
went up 5% from 2012. Overdrive, our
free audiobook/eBook downloadable service, had a 27% increase over last year’s
numbers. We’ve held several programs to
get the public more familiar with Overdrive, so stay tuned for the next one, or
just stop or call the library for help.
attendance was also up from 2012, and our overall circulation continues to
climb. I could not be more proud of this
library system, the staff, and our wonderful public who continue to see the
library as the best use of taxpayer’s money.
We try our best
to provide the best possible electronic content for our public, and one of our
database resources that we provide (for free) to the public is called
TexShare. TexShare provides exclusive
databases in areas of science, health, business, history and literature. Plus homework help for students elementary
through college. The cost for Chambers
County is $576, but broken down by vendor and without help from the state
library, it would cost us $59,031. A
huge savings to the county, and a wonderful resource for the public.
Some highlights of 2013
Our highest circulation ever for the annual
Summer Reading Program – 36,702!
Library received grant towards the
purchase of 2 Early Literacy Station computers
Library received grant to digitize The
Assistant County Librarian, Annie Vass
joined the team
Over $2,500 made in Friends of the
library book sales
City of Mont Belvieu bond passes to
help fund new library for the West Side
Library System partners with United
Way to offer after school tutoring
Children’s programs in December mean
Christmas, and along with singing, stories, and crafts, jolly old St. Nick
showed up a couple of times as well. Our programs are geared for the elementary
school-aged crowd, while our weekly story hours focus on preschoolers. The kids
had a great time this year. Kudos to all of our children’s programming people
for their work in planning the programs.
The Friends of the Chambers County Library
System held their annual December book sale at Anahuac and Mont Belvieu. Just over $1,200 was raised with the profits
going to ongoing library programs. The
book sale offers books, movies, and magazines for less than $1 each. Not a bad profit for a few days’ work!
We also received a nice surprise from our
friends at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. A donation was made to purchase books for the
library on ecology, estuaries, marshes and related topics. The library appreciates the continued support
from the refuge.
And finally, throughout the year we keep
statistics on the number of books checked out, walk-in traffic, program counts,
database usage, and much more. It’s all
part of our efforts to maintain standards as they are set by the Texas State
Library. The standards include
requirements in administration, collection, facility, finance, marketing,
personnel, service, and technology. The
purpose of these standards is to promote quality library service, raise
expectations of library clientele, and provide some official documentation to
Commissioners’ court and potential funders who support the library. Chambers County has always exceeded the
minimum required standards and we hope our service to the public is
representative of that.
Until next month!
Winnie teens enjoy their field trip to see Catching Fire
County Librarian, Valerie Jensen accepts a donation from incoming Friends of the Anahuac Refuge Treasurer, Rose Bolt
Mont Belvieu staff pose with Santa at the after school Christmas party
Chambers County Library System –
is still a long way off, but that didn’t stop us from planning! Usually, we have our Summer Reading planning
meeting in February, but with the State Library now merging with the National
Summer Reading Program, our deadlines have been pushed up a bit. On the 15th, we had an afternoon
planning meeting that lasted 4 hours.
The Branch Librarians, Children’s programmers and Teen programmers all
attended to toss around ideas and nail down the specifics for 2014. Next year’s theme is by far the best I’ve
seen it in my 17+ years at this library, and the staff agrees; it’s going to be
a fun summer and we can’t wait to kick off with fun activities and programs for
all ages. Of course, we start soliciting
our local businesses for donations, so if you’re reading this and want to throw
a few bucks our direction specifically for Summer Reading, be our guest! All donations are tax deductible, and you get
lots of free publicity.
On the 12th,
the Library Advisory Board met for their last quarterly meeting of the
year. We had several policies to update,
which were all discussed and approved.
All our library policies are available on our website as well as the
circulation desks at each branch for the public to view. Board members were asked to renew their terms
on the board, and with the exception of one member who is moving, everyone
agreed to stay with us another 2 years.
Our current Board members representing all parts of the county include,
Sam Little, Carolyn Caldwell, Marlin Moore, Youngshin Cobabe, Chris Ramsey,
Sarah Kathan, and Katie Jackson.
news, Anahuac held a “Technology Petting Zoo” to introduce patrons to the
latest techie devices. Two
representatives from Best Buy brought the new iPad, Surface, Kindle and other
devices to let patrons get a hands on feel for what they might want to wish for
at Christmas. Staff members were also on
hand to answer questions about the library’s downloadable books, or other
databases accessible from the latest gadgets.
Our downloadable book statistics continue to climb increasing 20% from
Winnie held a
tween program to promote the latest installment in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid
series. Staff member Kim Silcox had 15
youngsters enjoy book related games and activities. Programs that tie into book releases are
always a big draw for the kids.
Libraries get a
lot of foot traffic, and sometimes our carpet lets us know. Special thanks to the maintenance department
for allowing their employees time to work on the weekend for carpet
cleaning. The Anahuac and Mont Belvieu
branches all have nice, clean carpet that desperately needed cleaning.
The Anahuac and
Mont Belvieu branches held movie field trips to the latest Hunger Games
When Hollywood interprets books that are popular with the teens, we take
advantage and let them have some fun critiquing the movie with their
friends. Field trips aren’t that often,
but they are certainly popular with the older teens! Of course we have ourselves covered with
permission slips and county employees as drivers. It’s a perk of the job, even if it is after
Anahuac teens at the movies!
Mont Belvieu teens at the movies!
Checking out the cool new gadgets at the Technology Petting Zoo at the
Chambers County Library in Anahuac
The seasonal round of holidays has begun at
Chambers County Library System.
Halloween events were definitely the most sought after programs last
month with 132 people attending. And the
teen programs didn’t disappoint either with after-hours lock-ins and other
activities that kept close to 100 teens occupied. We can’t wait to see what Christmas has in
In other programming news, Anahuac staff member
Lesa Boutin organized a unique program that allowed people the opportunity to
take advantage of The Rose mobile mammography unit at the library. Breast Cancer awareness month was the perfect
time to promote the library’s resources on breast cancer, and also provide an
alternative to the local doctor’s office to get screened. Eighteen women took advantage of this
opportunity and we received wonderful feedback.
Looks like this will become a yearly event, and we hope to partner with
the Health Department next year.
Branch Librarian, Aquilia De la Cruz had a hands-on
enchilada making workshop on the 10th. It was a very well-attended program with
several requests for similar classes.
Cooking classes seem to be a hit with the local community, so be on the
lookout for more in the future.
Local Master Gardener A. Lynette Parsons and Susan
Roshto did a “Fall Gardening with the Masters” program at Mont Belvieu. 21 people attended to hear advice on easy
vegetable gardens, fall flowers, and pesky weeds.
We often get invitations from the community asking us
to set up at open houses, festivals, or requesting a library tour. At Mont Belvieu, Missy Parham provided
several tours for the Barbers Hill Kindergarten Center, Yolie Belt at Winnie
visits East Chambers elementary for stories each Friday, also at Winnie, Kim
Silcox visits the Arboretum twice a month to deliver books & movies to the
elderly. At Anahuac, LaShebia Haskin set
up an information booth at Anahuac Middle School open house, and Michelle Mims
provided a tour to the Met Head Start home based group. All great examples of our ongoing mission to
provide outreach to the community.
Our Friends of the Chambers County Library System had a presence
at the Barbers Hill Fall Fest on the 26th. They were there to generate more buzz about
the new library, and also sell raffle tickets to do a little fundraising. Most of the people who passed by knew about
the library, and others were very excited to hear the news. Three Friends volunteers spent the day
promoting the library non-stop. It’s
great to see that type of dedication for libraries!
Teen Read Week is a national literacy initiative
sponsored by the Young Adult Services of the American Librarian Association to
encourage teens to be regular readers and library users. This year’s theme was, “Seek the Unknown @
Your Library”. The Winnie branch paired
their Halloween program during Teen Read Week with activities that included
stargazing, galaxy t-shirts, and other eerie activities.
We also started the end of year task spending time
with book vendors to prepare for the upcoming year. Our regular vendors are all aware of our new budget funds of
course, and they descend during November and January to tempt us with all those
titles we so want to provide for our patrons. It’s a juggling act to buy what
we need and to keep it in line with the budgeted funds.
Branch Librarians Aquilia De la Cruz, Cindy
Alegria, and Missy Parham attended a Small Library Management Technology online
course. This course is part of the four
part program towards the certification that non-MLS library managers must
complete. Aquilia and Missy are one step
away from completing their certification, while Cindy has a couple more courses
before she’s done. This program takes
about 2 years to finish, so it’s quite an accomplishment when completed!
And finally, if you haven’t noticed them lately, your local
Commissioners and County Judge grace the walls of the library in “Celebrity
READ posters”. The American Library Association created a campaign to promote
reading by having celebrities pose with their favorite book to be featured in a
poster. The library purchased software to customize these posters with our own
local celebrities and patrons and they generate quite a bit of attention! We’ve
added a new “celebrity” to the walls, so next time you’re at the library, stop
by and see if you can spot the latest County official.
Master Gardener program at Mont Belvieu
Anahuac patrons enjoy the Halloween party
Commissioner Bubba Abernathy judges the pumpkin painting contest
Chambers County Sheriff, Brian Hawthorne poses for our "local celebrity" READ poster
Until next month!
Chambers County Library System –
programming is upon us, and the library staff have been busy bees planning all
sorts of fun activities. I think they’re
having withdrawals since Summer Reading!
This time of year we welcome Toddler Time back into our regular
routine. Michelle, Yolie, and Missy have
been cranking out some of the cutest crafts, games, and stories for the little
ones. These ladies do a wonderful job of
keeping the toddlers engaged and excited about books and the library. One of the Mont Belvieu regulars even has his
own fan club for Missy, complete with a t-shirt that says, “I love Mrs.
Missy”. Now that’s a fan!
also starts festival time in Chambers County.
Starting with Anahuac, Gatorfest was once again a big draw for the
county. The library always has a presence
in the educational tent promoting services and handing out flyers to let people
know we’re here. The biggest photo op
this year seemed to be the big stuffed alligator in the center of the
educational tent. When not being used at
Gatorfest, the 11 ft. alligator’s home is at the library sitting on top of our
bookshelves. He gets quite a bit of
attention from the public. Thanks goes
out to the staff members who worked the booth.
On the 5th,
Anahuac branch librarian Aquilia De la Cruz attended a Small Library Management
advanced workshop in Diboll on Building and Sustaining Partnerships. Aquilia has almost completed the 2 year
program, which provides intensive training for library staff managing smaller
community libraries. Three staff members
are currently enrolled in the program.
programming news, staff member Lesa Boutin coordinated with The Rose Mobile
Mammography to allow an alternative to the doctor’s office and hospital for the
public to get their mammograms.
Pre-registration has been a success and we anticipate this to be a
22-28 marked Banned Books Week for libraries.
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.
Librarian, Valerie Jensen and Assistant County Librarian, Annie Vass have been
able to spend a little time writing grants recently. Grants are usually left on the backburner
because they require quite a bit of office time to focus on the writing, and with
us out and about at the branches, we don’t get a whole lot of that. But we are proud to say we were both successful
at our attempts to get funding for a couple of items we’ve had on our “wish
lists”. Annie wrote a grant to the Ladd
& Katherine Hancher Foundation to purchase 2 Early Literacy computer
stations. These computers provide kids
with over 60 educational games on a very durable touchscreen computer. All of the libraries now have these computers
for public use, and the little ones just love them. Valerie wrote our second grant to ask for the
digitization of The Age newspapers. The
Age was the first newspaper in Chambers County and has information dating back
to the late 1800’s to present day reporting various happenings throughout the
county. The papers will be scanned and
housed at the University of North Texas’ Portal to Texas History website. One of the goals at the library is to
continue to provide access to the rich local history Chambers County has to
offer. The Age will soon be available
for public access to view, search, and print.
Adalyn Hoskins enjoying teddy bear storytime at Anahuac
Banned Books Week display at Mont Belvieu
Missy's littlest storytime fan at Mont Belvieu
Noe Mejia and his son enjoy the new kids computer at Anahuac
Chambers County Library System –
another busy month in the Library System.
With summer reading behind us, we turn our sights on fall programming,
which we anticipate you’ll be happy to see!
One thing I want to mention is the wonderful summer help staff we had
this year. The student workers were
hired at each library and all did an exceptional job during our busiest time of
year. The “summer helper” program is
sponsored by Commissioners’ Court above the Library System’s budget. The students provided immense amounts of
assistance, not only in getting ready for programs, but in 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 greatly in our area, where jobs are scarce, and it is a bonus of
$12,245 to the library system.
us to also do some in-house staff training.
We’re very fortunate to have a talented group of staff members who enjoy
sharing their “areas of expertise” with everyone. We took advantage of their knowledge by
having several cross training workshops.
We started the month with an Intro to Genealogy taught by Winnie staff
member Mary Abshire. Mary is the
resident genealogy guru and several other staff attended to learn her tricks
and tips. The class went so well that
the West Chambers Branch will have their first Genealogy for Beginners program
in September. Next up was an
opportunity for our Children’s Programmers to meet and brainstorm. Our newest kid staffer is Yolie Belt from
Winnie and she fit right in with the gang.
The ladies enjoyed sharing ideas in their effort to provide quality kids
programs throughout the school year. And
finally, County Librarian, Valerie Jensen did a book mending class. Yes, there is such a thing as mending a book
the right way! The class allowed 8 of
the library staff to do some hands on training to fix broken spines and torn
On the 13th
the Library Advisory Board met for their quarterly meeting. The Volunteer policy and Interlibrary Loan
policy were up for discussion and approval.
The board approved all changes, which take effect immediately. Their next meeting is scheduled for
Librarian Valerie Jensen, and Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass attended a
United Way Development Committee meeting on the 14th. United Way is working on a presence in
Chambers County to address the needs of the citizens. One area that the library will potentially be
involved is by providing a Homework Help program twice weekly for students who
will be provided with transportation to and from the library. Once the details are lined out and funding is
in place, we will provide more information about the program. The library is excited about getting involved
and anticipate great results!
A couple of fun
programs that took place in August were a Back to School bash at Anahuac and
Winnie. Both libraries provided
activities for the school age crowd. A
backpack race, movie, Angry birds, snacks, and more were on hand for the
kids. All total there were over 100
people in attendance. It’s a great way
to get kids excited about school and the library, and it seems we’ve started a
yearly trend! The West Chambers Branch
held a cooking class for the little ones complete with edible crayons. The kids loved being able to eat the treats
they created! Also on the West Side, the
teens had a couple of fun activities with their inflatable Twister game, and a
field trip to see City of Bones.
Librarian Aquilia De la Cruz was asked by Anahuac Middle School to attend 6th
grade orientation to assist with online registration for Spanish speaking
parents. Aquilia has a reputation with
the Hispanic community as an excellent computer teacher providing classes that
help parents become comfortable with basic computer skills, creating email
addresses, printing documents, and accessing the Skyward program through the
school. Her classes are in high demand
and word of mouth about the classes sparked the idea from the school to involve
the library staff with assistance on orientation night.
our Assistant County Librarian completed her Master’s in Library Science (MLS)
degree in August. Annie attended her
graduation at the University of North Texas in Denton. Having another MLS on staff will be extremely
beneficial in many ways to the library!
Back to school bash at Anahuac
Kids cooking class at Mont Belvieu
The ladies of Chambers County Library System storytime
2013 Summer Reading Program boasts a circulation increase of 21%!
books read during the program…..36,702 – that’s more than one book for every
resident in Chambers County!
What an extremely successful year for Chambers County
Library System’s annual Summer Reading Program. The 6-week program ended
mid-July with a total of 1,161 kids, 151 teens, and 97 adults
participating. In the middle of the lines of people checking out books,
DVDs, etc., we were holding awesome programs for summer reading; a total of 54
to be exact. There’s a great deal of work that goes into the planning and
executing of our program, so kudos to the entire staff for a job well
done! We’re very happy to make our
Summer Reading Program fun and inviting for all ages.
During the 6-week program, we offered a
“Fresh Start” program that allowed patrons to read off their fines. For
every 15 minutes patrons read, $2 would be cleared from their existing overdues.
We had several people take advantage of this program reading over 645
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
All in all, our
reading clubs for adults, teens, and children were incredible successes this
year. Our donations for our programs were way up, allowing us to
provide entertainment that tops off previous year’s programs. That, in
turn, enticed more adults in to enter our reading raffle drawings, and our
teens and youngsters in with the welcoming atmosphere they have come to expect
at our “community centers.” The library system in Chambers County is not
just a room full of books; the staff work extremely hard to provide a wide
spectrum of rich materials and services from our share of the tax dollar.
Usually we scale down a bit in August, but we’re keeping up the pace due to
public demand. Back to School programs are being planned at each branch
for August, and we’ll crank back up with the usual programs (and more!) in
The Friends of
CCLS took advantage of the summer crowds, and staged a three-day Gently Used
Book Sale at the West Chambers Branch. It was another huge success, and funds
raised will be used to purchase additional programming supplies and equipment
for the libraries. The Friends are also working very hard on their
fundraising efforts for the new West Side library. A website is currently
in the works that will allow the public to donate towards the cause, and the
Friends are also starting to meet with representatives from local industry to
help out with the Friends share of the construction costs.
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 asking for an increase in
part-time hours, an alarm system for the Anahuac branch, a few small items for
our supply line, and our main request is to digitize all the local newspapers
we currently have on hand. These items are things we feel are warranted
to continue the level of service our patrons have grown used to.
Anahuac adult winner - Zelphia Hankamer
Some Anahuac kids enjoying the End of Summer Reading party
Mont Belvieu kids enjoying the Cryogenics program with Keith Hall
Winnie teens during their scavenger hunt!