Friday, June 05, 2015

 
Chambers County Library System – May, 2015

May is the time of year when the temperatures rise, and the staff members feverishly finalize the last minute details of Summer Reading!  This year, we printed over 7,000 sheets of paper to promote the children’s, teens, and adult programs for June and July.  The flyers were folded and distributed to the schools, and in several cases, the staff members went to the schools to present previews of coming attractions.  With storytime ending the week of May 4th, it gave the programmers time to tidy up any loose ends before June 8. 

With the arrival of reading incentives (coupons and treats from corporate underwriters), the prizes, the giveaways, and the program supplies provide lots of projects.  Registration bags were stuffed, sponsor displays were created, signs telling kids how to earn coupons were made, and the library walls were transformed to display the theme of “Every Hero Has a Story”.  Behind the scenes, the Administrative unit and Technical Services has been working overtime printing posters, flyers, cutting die cuts, and ordering and distributing all the supplies needed for summer to the branches.  With all hands on deck, we are more than ready for June 8 to get here, and for the fun to begin!



Branch Librarian Aquilia De la Cruz gets ready for Summer Reading at the Chambers County Library in Anahuac

May also started off with some excitement.  On the 8th, the long-awaited groundbreaking for the new library in Mont Belvieu took place.  A standing room only crowd assembled at the work site so that several people could give a “thank you” speech to the crowd.  County Judge Jimmy Sylvia served as Master of Ceremonies, Library Advisory Board President Sam Little gave the invocation, and County Librarian Valerie Jensen, Friends member Leslie Schmitt, Barbers Hill ISD Superintendent Greg Poole, and City of Mont Belvieu mayor Nick Dixon spoke to the group.  It’s been said many times, but it’s wonderful to be a part of a project where three entities come together for the good of the community. 




Representatives from Chambers County, the City of Mont Belvieu, and Barbers Hill ISD break ground at the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library in Mont Belvieu

A Library Advisory Board meeting was held on the 12th.  Members met to discuss and approve updates on a couple of policies, and were also treated to a visit from the Chambers County Branch Librarians.  Aquilia De la Cruz, Cindy Alegria, and Missy Parham attended the meeting to allow board members to meet them in person.  They each gave a brief summary of their positions at the library and were able to brag on their staff. 

May 27th was the end of GED and ESL classes to allow for summer break.  Classes have been sponsored by the Anahuac Municipal Development District, and taught by local Anahuac ISD teacher Katherine Wilkins.  Students have made such great progress over the past year with several students testing and passing their GED.  ESL students have been very loyal in their attendance, and many of them are frequent library users.  It’s great to see them use their newly taught English skills in the library as a patron.  They’ve definitely been taught the right way!  On the 27th, a “graduation” was held to celebrate the accomplishments of the ESL students, complete with food furnished by the entire class.  Students were awarded a certificate of completion for their year of work.  They didn’t leave without a final lesson, and they all look forward to starting back in the fall. 

ESL students with their certificates of completion

On the 1st, we received news that the library received a Community Grant from Walmart.  Funds from this grant go towards Summer Reading expenses.  Walmart has partnered with the library for the past several years to assist in our goal to promote reading and libraries. 


Assistant County Librarian, Annie Vass shows off the Walmart grant with her sidekick, Wonder Woman! 


On the 16th, the young people of Anahuac held their 9th annual Ana-Con event.  Ana-Con is a mini anime convention for all ages.  The crowd enjoyed drawing contests, dance panels, Ramune drinking contests and more.  Several people came dressed in their best character outfits to show off during the “Cosplay” portion of the day.  The Anahuac Anime club was started in 2006 and it’s wonderful to see such a long running program still going strong. 



Bree and Myra enjoying Ana-Con!

After-school tutorials ended on May 18.  The tutoring sessions were part of a partnership with United Way of Greater Baytown and Chambers County, along with the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office and Anahuac ISD.  This is the second school year that tutorials have been in session, and we’re anticipating great results again in the fall.  A pizza party was held on the last tutorial session on May 18th for the students, staff, and volunteers.  Each week faithful volunteers were on hand to help students with reading, math, social studies, or other subjects where there was a need.  Volunteers from ONEOK in Mont Belvieu were regulars, along with several patrons who gave their time to help the kids.    



Tutorial students and their volunteers

Finally, a small electrical fire occurred at the west annex in Mont Belvieu on Thursday the 21st that caused us to close the library doors for a about a day.  Luckily, no one was hurt and we opened back up for business on Monday! 

Until next month!



Thursday, April 09, 2015

 

March report

Chambers County 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 year. 

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 ages. 

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 program.

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 county. 

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




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

 

Library Lovers' Month!

Chambers County 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 library. 

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 Clinic. 

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!


Friday, February 06, 2015

 

New year, new money!

Chambers County 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

Branch librarians 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 Association





Tuesday, January 13, 2015

 

End of year highlights!


Total circulation:  230,030 – 6% increase from 2013
Total walk in traffic:  140,815 – 2% increase from 2013
Program attendance:  17,044 – 16% increase from 2013
Public computer logons:  24,569
Wireless logons:  5,294 – 17% increase from 2013
Database usage:  16,742 - 51% increase from 2013


Some highlights of 2014 include:

·         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 sessions
·         Three new staff members joined the CCLS team
·         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.

Until next month! 
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!



Thursday, December 11, 2014

 

November at the library!

Chambers County 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 offer.   

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 early 2015.

Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch Librarian Cindy Alegria attended her final Small Library Management course on the 3rd in 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. 

Until next month! 
Mont Belvieu patrons enjoy the Digital Bookmobile

Tweens at Winnie having fun at the Diary of a Wimpy Kid program

Friday, November 07, 2014

 
Chambers County 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 libraries.  

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 picture! 

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 teen section!

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. 

Until next month!
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!


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