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
Library System – August, 2014
August started off with good news for the library
system. County Librarian Valerie Jensen,
and Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass were rewarded for their grant writing
efforts by receiving a state funded grant for 10 iPads to be used primarily for
the after school tutoring sessions at Anahuac.
The tutoring sessions are part of a partnership with United Way of
Greater Baytown and Chambers County, along with the Chambers County Sheriff’s
Department and Anahuac ISD. Tutorial
sessions began last school year and ended with great results, and we anticipate
more student involvement this year. The
Anahuac branch is always looking for volunteer tutors, so contact them
Each year Commissioners’ Court sponsors the “summer helper”
program. This year, an exceptional group
of student workers were hired at each of the libraries. We hated to see them go, but their time was
well spent providing the library with assistance at programs, and performing a
wide variety of tasks that our regular staff can’t get to during the year. The salaries provided to these young people
help them a great deal as they get ready for college, or just to save money for
things they need. For many of these
young students, this is their first job and we like to think we leave a good impression
on them as they jump into the working world.
Over the last several weeks we’ve had some website problems
due to a server upgrade that left us without an online presence. We seem to be functioning again, thanks to
our local website guru, Kathy Fielding who was able to get us back up and
Several staff members took advantage of the CPR training
provided by the County. It’s very
important that each staff member be properly trained since we deal so heavily
with the public. By the end of
September, all library staff will be updated in their certifications.
On the 28th, the Children’s Librarians met at
Anahuac for their yearly meeting to brainstorm ideas, talk about different storytime
strategies, and see all the resources available to them for the little
ones. Staff members, Michelle Mims,
Yolie Belt, Jennifer Kellum, Missy Parham, and newest staff member Krystine
Gonzales were all in attendance. Krystine
joins the West Chambers Branch at Mont Belvieu as the new Children’s Librarian.
Missy Parham, the current Branch
Librarian/Children’s Librarian has been over the kids program for the past
several years. She’s decided to hang up
that hat and concentrate more on the duties of running a busy branch. Of course, she’ll still be around to visit
with the little ones each week at storytime!
We welcome Krystine to the gang, and know she’ll do a great job!
In programming news, each branch held a “Back to School
Bash” during August. Anahuac had the
local dentist, Dr. Kevin King, Sheriff Hawthorne, and Deputy Dan to visit with
the kids and pose for pictures. Games
and snacks were served. Winnie held
their bash at the community building with giant games as the theme. Oversized classic games such as Chutes and
Ladders, and Perfection were on hand for kids to play. There were also donated back to school items
from local businesses raffled to those in attendance. Mont Belvieu held a Back to Homeschool Bash
for the parents to learn about the resources offered to them and their
children. A Little Chef’s Back to School
Cooking Class also took place at Mont Belvieu for the little ones under
Ongoing meetings for the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial
Branch Library took place in August. We
met with shelving contractors, and the county’s Technology department to start
working on some very important details before construction can start.
Patron Bobbie Zigler enjoys one of the many public computers
Deputy Dan and Dr. Kevin King at Anahuac's Back to School Bash
Mike Kubik and his granddaughter enjoy visiting the library!
Library System – July, 2014
enrollment – up 9%
attendance (kids) – up 20%
attendance (teens) – up 4%
circulation – up 29%
items checked out during July, a 35% increase from 2013.
Which county boasts the biggest bookworms? After this year, we would definitely have to
say Chambers County! 2014 was our
biggest Summer Reading in the library’s history, and we’ve got the tired staff
to prove it! The week of July 21st
ended the 6-week summer with science and magic shows for the little ones; dodge
ball, movies, and crafts for the teens; and wine-making and a painting class
for the adults. To say it’s been a busy
summer is an understatement. But we love
it that way.
A special thanks to our sponsors who donated their time,
money, and coupons for the Summer Reading Program. Without their
contributions we would not be able to provide the quality programs we offer
each year. A big thank you to the Friends of the Chambers County Library
System for being the major underwriters for the program, and also to NRG, LLC
for being this year’s corporate sponsor.
The Friends of the Chambers County Library System found
time to hold a book sale at Mont Belvieu during party week. With the amount of walk-in traffic we get
during the final week of summer reading, the $1,000 made in 3 days was worth
Chambers County Library in Anahuac continued to have
very well attended GED and ESL classes.
This is the first year we’ve been able to continue classes during the
summer, and it’s because of the grant funding received from the Anahuac
Municipal Development District.
This year, County Librarian Valerie Jensen chose to
offer some adult programs during summer that aren’t typically considered your
“traditional” library programs. It’s
important not to lose sight of our adult population, and with more and more
libraries focusing on adult enrichment programs, summer was the perfect
opportunity to give it a shot. Three
programs were held at Anahuac this year beginning with Bayou City Paranormal
presenting their findings of the Chamber Home and Dr. Schilling’s office. Next we held a Wine-Making program with a
special guest speaker from Nederland, Jim Catalina. And finally we held a Painting with a Twist
program where participants got to paint and take home a “Neon Heron”
masterpiece. All the programs were well
attended with comments for more. I’m
hoping in the near future we continue these types of programs not only at
Anahuac, but system-wide.
Other programs ongoing were book club and movie days –
there wasn’t a day that the libraries weren’t hopping!
County Librarian, Valerie Jensen and Assistant County
Librarian, Annie Vass continue working closely with the new library working
group for the Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library. A meeting was held on the 28th to
discuss the next stage of design and included Branch Librarian Missy Parham at
the meeting. Renderings of the outside
and inside design were shown to the group.
It’s such an exciting time seeing drawings and floor plans slowly take
July is the time we prepare budget packets for the upcoming budget year.
Each year we make notes on items or services we would like to add for the
citizens of the county. This year we’re looking long term at capital
improvements and personnel. We’re also
asking for an increase in our materials budget to keep up with increasing costs
of books, eBooks, audio/visual materials, and other items.
Until next month!
Library System – April, 2014
April started off with good tidings towards the library with
the award of a grant from Entergy.
Assistant County Librarian, Annie Vass wrote a grant to purchase EMT
training DVDs to add to the library’s existing collection of Fire Training,
Vehicle Extrication, and Hazmat training DVDs.
These materials are available for area Emergency Responder groups for
checkout from your local library. We
appreciate the support from Entergy, and Annie’s hard work in putting the grant
Annie also had the opportunity to attend the annual State
Library conference this year in San Antonio.
As a first time attendee, Annie spent the week attending programs
related to public libraries, saw the latest and greatest books/technology/furniture/services
in the exhibit hall, and enjoyed getting information she could bring back to
the staff. It’s always great to send staff to these
conferences to inspire the rest of the gang with new ideas.
April 1 may be April Fool’s Day, but in Chambers County
Library System’s terms, it’s the day for the local version of the International
Edible Book Festival! In our 8th
year, this Friends’ sponsored program allows people to enter edible items that
had some connection to books, and which were, in the end, edible. This year we had entries from Harry Potter,
Magic Eye, and several kids’ books. We
have such fun with these events, and the public enjoys it too. In conjunction with the edibles, the staff at
Anahuac held a 3 day book sale the rest of the week. Book sales are always well attended and a
local attraction at all the branches when we have them. Proceeds go towards library programs and
events for the community.
The Friends of the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge donated
3 copies of their highly anticipated book, A
Year in the life of our refuge.
books will be placed at each branch with a plaque acknowledging the
donation. We appreciate the continued
support from the refuge.
Ongoing after-school tutorials at Anahuac continue to
thrive. Kids were treated with some
special tutors in April. Ariele
Brownfield and Caitlin Armstrong with ONEOK in Mont Belvieu were excited to
show their support of the program by offering some math help to the kids. The students had a great time learning from
the ladies, and left with smiles on their faces eager to know when they would
be back. It’s wonderful to have such
widespread support for this program.
On the 23rd
, we welcomed a new addition at
Winnie. Jennifer Kellum started as a
Library Technician to assist with front desk work and coverage as Winnie
continues to grow both in circulation and program attendance. She’s jumped in and become a quick learner
and we welcome her to the staff.
In program news, along with the usual movie nights, computer
classes, craft programs, genealogy classes, homeschool programs, toddler times,
and teen programs we began April with Easter parties for the young set, and
there were various activities in the three branches, from egg hunts to visits
from the Easter Bunny.
programs have also become quite the hit targeting that 7-11 age group! And finally, resident cheese maker and County
Librarian, Valerie Jensen took her show on the road to the Groves Public
Library. They had a great turnout with
close to 30 people in attendance.
Sharing program ideas and resources with area libraries is always a
great thing – we get some of our best ideas from each other.
Lastly, we’re gearing up for our annual Summer Reading
Program. We have some great programs and
activities lined up this summer for all age groups. Be on the lookout at your local branch for
some weird and wacky decorations! It’s
going to be a great summer! Check our
website soon for more details on the summer program. It all starts June 9th
FOAR President, Matthew Jackson presents Assistant County Librarian, Annie Vass with their highly anticipated book on the life of the Refuge
OneOK engineers volunteering for after-school tutorials at Anahuac
Firefighter and EMS worker, John Willey holds DVDs received by the library through grant funds from Entergy