Despite the closure at Mont Belvieu and the remodeling at
Anahuac, the libraries were still busy as usual. Mont Belvieu remained closed through the
month of March so we could finalize the last minute details of moving over to
the new building. The Anahuac remodel is
complete with only a few finishing touches remaining. We’re excited to have the opportunity to not
only have a new building at Mont Belvieu, but to get a ‘face lift’ where it was
desperately needed in Anahuac.
March provided the library system
with another opportunity to show the communities some of the things we do best.
National Read Across America Day was celebrated at the libraries with our Cat
in the Hat costumes (courtesy of the Friends of CCLS). Kids enjoyed hearing Dr. Seuss stories, activities
and games. Easter parties rounded out
the month with egg hunts, crafts, games, and even a visit from the
Easter Bunny himself!
The Friends of CCLS held a Gently Used Book Sale at
Anahuac starting on March 30. This 3 day
sale brought in several hundred dollars from our faithful buyers who look
forward to the new books we get donated throughout the year. The next sale will be in December at Anahuac
and Winnie. With the new Sam and Carmena
Goss Memorial Branch, Mont Belvieu has an ongoing bookstore staffed with
volunteers. Hours vary each week.
In other programming news, Adult Programmer Jennifer
Kellum held her 2nd
annual Women’s History Month program at
Anahuac. The group enjoyed brunch and a
movie. Jennifer also continues to lead a
Walk for Wellness group, which meets every Monday from 5:30-6:30. The teen staff at Anahuac and Winnie continued
their regular programs during March.
Activities included canvas painting, beach crafts, and anime club. Craft programs are also popular among the adults
with craft club at standing room only in Anahuac. The craft for the adults in May is a wooden
pallet picture frame. Registration is
required, call the library at 409-267-2554 for more information.
The county employee health and benefits fair, held on the 24th
was an opportunity for the library system to showcase our health related
resources. Our booth featured a variety
of exercise, disease, and health-oriented DVDs and books. We also managed to work in a few items of
interest from our general collection, like our online database programs for
downloading audiobooks, and other online services. Quite a few employees who stopped by were
very interested in what we can offer them!
Finally, the library received the ‘all clear’ on our annual report to
the state library. This means that we
have reached exemplary standards with our personnel, finance, technology, and
service. By receiving this recognition,
it shows that the library has proven its value and importance to the
community. Chambers County Library
System prides itself on maintaining high standards and going above and beyond
to stay current in library trends.
Tween/Teen craft at Anahuac
Assistant County Librarian, Annie Vass at the county employee health fair
Dr. Seuss storytime at Anahuac!
Tween beach craft at Winnie!
Library System – February, 2016
February began with a book sale at the Juanita Hargraves
Memorial Branch in Winnie. Several
volunteers assisted with the setup and sale, bringing in a few hundred dollars
that will go towards library programs and events. The public always enjoys the sales at the
branches! We are also anticipating great
things with the permanent bookstore opening at the new Mont Belvieu site
Remodeling at the main branch in Anahuac continues. As with any project, you can expect a few
hiccups along the way, but we expect things to be completed in about a week
with new office spaces and flooring.
Mont Belvieu inches closer to completion as the West Chambers Branch
closes its doors in March. We still have
several details to finalize before we open the doors to the public.
The Library Advisory Board met on the 9th
update and discuss a couple library policies.
The Board plays a vital role in shaping policy based on staff
recommendation. Not only do they discuss
policies, they are also the eyes and ears in the community to provide feedback
from the public. Their next meeting will
be held May 3 in Anahuac.
The Anahuac and Winnie branches held after school
Valentine’s parties for the younger crowd.
Stories, songs, crafts and fun were provided by the children’s staff.
Other fun programs in February included:
FREE Cardio class provided by Janice Jircik with
the Wellness Center at Bayside
Spring Gardening with master gardeners A.
Lynette Parsons and Susan Roshto
Mother/daughter spa night with special guests
from Merle Norman and Paper, Rock, Scissors
On the 20th
Children’s staff members Michelle Mims and Yolie Belt attended a workshop at
Lee College for early educators.
Motivational speaker Luis Hernandez provided 4 hours of instruction on
early childhood development, and how certain skills can enhance the classroom (and
Assistant County Librarian Annie
Vass, Assistant Technical Librarian Jennifer Kellum and myself attended a
webinar on the 17th
on the digitization software that will be used
for museum items. The next phase of
historical work will be to make items of local historical significance accessible
to the public. This will be an ongoing
project for library staff.
Interviews continue for 2 open
positions within the library system due to the growth and demand we’ve
experienced in the last couple of years.
A 12hpw position at Anahuac for front desk relief, and 24hpw position at
Mont Belvieu for a Children’s Librarian are currently posted on the library’s
Empty shelves at Mont Belvieu
Lil' berries storytime at Winnie
Spa night at Winnie
Remodeling at Anahuac
Library System – January, 2016
January seemed to pass us by without warning! Usually, this time of year we’ve had time to visit
with all our vendors, get the 2016 files in order, and focus on activities for
the new year. But we’ve been spending
time on the administrative side playing catch up from the work that comes with day
to day operations, new library construction, and remodeling. It’s been busy and hectic, but overall we
could not be happier with the results we’ll be getting in the months to
come. In Mont Belvieu, the Sam and
Carmena Goss Memorial Branch construction continues on schedule. Within the next few weeks we will have carpet
and furniture, then shelving along with the move to follow. A grand opening date will soon be
announced! The gang at Anahuac has been
experiencing some construction of their own.
Walls are being demoed, and soon there will be some noticeable, and much
needed changes. We do want to thank the
public for their patience with the noise and mess – it’s definitely your tax
dollars at work!
We did manage to squeeze in a vendor or two to order new
books. Our new budget year allows us to
purchase the latest titles, fill in holes where we have missing books, and
build the collection so that we’re meeting the standards required by the
February 6-8 we closed the Winnie branch to continue
inventory and RFID tagging. The tagging
is required as part of the new self-checkout system and added security that
will be implemented at Mont Belvieu, and later at Anahuac and Winnie. With the amount of reserve items that we tote
back and forth throughout the county, it’s important that all items be tagged
and ready for checkout.
On the 23rd
, the Friends of the Chambers County
Library System held their annual meeting at Anahuac. The Friends spent their time updating those
in attendance on activities held throughout the year, discussion of the
library’s “wish list” of items not funded in the county budget, and selection
of the library system’s employee of the year.
The 2015 Employee of the Year was selected with the honor going to Lori
Knapp in Mont Belvieu. Lori has been with
the library since 2008 as a Library Technician.
Before starting at the library, Lori was an active library user and
Library Advisory Board member. She is
responsible for adult programming, cataloging, and front desk assistance. The Friends also gave an update on the
fundraising campaign for the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch
Library. County Librarian, Valerie
Jensen gave a ‘State of the Library System’ speech, giving those in attendance
a snapshot of the year, as well as new things to come. The Friends were approached recently with a
donation in memory of long time library user, Fran Mamich. Fran was a Barbers Hill ISD teacher, library
user, and those who knew her, knew her love for children and reading. Fran’s husband and friends toured the new
library site to determine the best way to memorialize Fran, and decided on funding
the furnishings for the children’s activity room.
GED and ESL classes continue at Anahuac, and on January 12
the Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie started offering weekly GED
classes. So far the response has been
great. Classes for GED run similar to a
college semester, and the next registration period will be advertised at the
library and the local newspapers. GED is
funded by the adult education program through College of the Mainland. ESL is funded by the Anahuac Municipal
Development District. Classes are held
at Anahuac every Tuesday 6-9 for beginners, and Thursday 6-9 for advanced. Call the library to find out more information
on any of these classes.
Programs continued at Anahuac and Winnie while Mont Belvieu remains
on pause with theirs as they prepare for the upcoming move. The Mont Belvieu gang is chomping at the bit
to start back up with storytime and other exciting programs they have in the
works. At Anahuac, as part of a New
Year, New You series, they held a basic makeup tips and tricks program. On February 18th
at 5:30pm, the
next program in the series is a free cardio class presented by Janice Jircik
with the Wellness Center at Bayside.
Spanish storytime was held on the 12th
, and craft club on the
At Winnie, an “Intro to Guitar” for the tween and teen
audiences, adult coloring program, and their ongoing Genealogy Interest Group
were just a few programs held in addition to the regular storytime and movie nights.
And finally, Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass and I just
finished submitting the annual report to the Texas State Library. Our increases for 2015 included database
usage, program attendance, and wireless usage.
Our circulation is a healthy 214,521 for 2015! These figures translate to even more
residents utilizing what the county provides.
It’s a great use of tax dollars for many citizens.
Until next month!
Valerie Jensen, County Librarian
Employee of the year Lori Knapp with Friends president Jean Forrest
ESL students at the Anahuac branch
Friends of Fran Mamich touring the new library site
Library System – November, 2015
November started out with vendors knocking on our doors to
schedule meetings to share their latest books and products. The select group of vendors we deal with have
some great selections for both our print and digital collections. Nothing gets delivered until January 1, so
the public has to wait a couple months before the new stuff gets cataloged,
processed and routed to the branches. It’s
definitely worth the wait!
On the 10th
, the Library Advisory Board met in
Anahuac for their quarterly meeting. The
group approved an update to the small and large equipment policy. The board meets quarterly, with their next meeting
In programming news, Anahuac held their monthly craft club,
which continues to increase in popularity thanks to the impressive crafts
planned by Branch Librarian, Aquilia De la Cruz. Each month a craft is selected, supplies
provided, and patrons spend the hour crafting, socializing, and brainstorming
ideas for the next month. Young Adult
Librarian Lashebia Haskin held a teen writing workshop on November 5th
. Local author, Lesa Boutin was the guest presenter
for the program. Lesa is part of the
Writers in the Schools program out of Houston.
Her creative and inspiring methods bring out wonderful stories in even
the most reluctant writers. GED and ESL
classes continue each week, along with monthly anime club, movie day, and book
Anahuac teens with local author Lesa Boutin
The Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie held a
coloring class for adults led by staff member Mary Abshire. This unique program provided a relaxing way for
adults to “de-stress”. The response was
great, and another program is scheduled soon.
Young Adult Librarian Kim Silcox held a Diary of a Wimpy Kid program to
celebrate the release of the newest book in the series. Kids enjoyed book trivia, drawing, and other
book related activities. Kim also took a
group teens to the release of the new Mockingjay movie on the 22nd
. Movie field trips are popular with the teens,
especially when it’s a high anticipated book to movie release.
Winnie teens ready for the Mockingjay movie!
Book club continues at all the Chambers County Library
System branches. If you’re wondering
what to read, want a suggestions, or just want to hang out with some really fun
people, check out your local library’s meeting times and dates. Current reading selections for the month of
December are: At Anahuac, Girl on the
; At Winnie, Girl on the Train
; At Mont Belvieu, All she
Storytime also continues at the branches. Each week there are themed storytimes to engage
the children in reading, enjoy crafts, songs, and more. The staff does a great job with the little
ones, and their faces say it all!
Construction continues at the Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial
Branch Library. The weather hasn’t been
favorable, causing several bad weather days, but despite the rain things are
moving along. The latest completion date
has now been moved to February. We’ve
put a temporary pause to some of our regular programs at the West Chambers
Branch in Mont Belvieu. A couple of
projects are being completed such as book tagging, weeding, and getting items
ready to pack up and move. Once we get
to the actual transition, the library should not be closed more than a couple
of weeks. The staff is more than ready to
move into their new space, and I know the public is just as excited!
Entry into the new library
September was National Library Card Sign-Up month. And how fitting that the West Chambers Branch
in Mont Belvieu hit a milestone reaching over 5,000 cardholders! Each month we add over 100 new cards in the
system. By issuing family cards, the
number of actual library users is more than double the cardholders on
file. Currently, the Chambers County
Library System has 10,523 cardholders with an average of 3 people per
account. That’s almost the population of
Growth has brought great things
to Chambers County, and libraries are definitely in demand!
As the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch continues
with construction, we have also continued adding additional staff as the county
budget allows. Last year we requested
and were approved a full time position.
That position was filled by Shelby Fielding and she’s settled in nicely
and continues to be trained to prepare for the transition to the new
building. This past month we added
Sabrina Galloway as the Children’s Librarian.
We were also approved for an additional full time and part-time position
in our 2016 budget. The full time
position will be filled by existing staff, and we’ll start the search for the
part-time position January 1. Moving
into a new building leaves us with some unknowns in terms of program
expectations. On average, the West
Chambers Branch has 10-15 programs each month.
Once we settle into the new building, we’ll have a better idea what to
expect since we anticipate increases in checkouts and foot traffic. Being closer in proximity to the schools
leads us to believe we’ll be concentrating more on after-school programs. The best part is seeing the direction this
new library takes us. Construction
continues, and due to the 31 bad weather days claimed, the latest completion
date had to be moved from November to January 15. It will definitely be a Happy New Year!
The Chambers County Library in Anahuac was at capacity in
their programming for September. Over 25
programs, including GED and ESL took place this past month. GED classes are funded through the College of
the Mainland in Texas City as part of their Adult Education program. Their service area includes Chambers County,
and they’ve been reaching out to mid-county, as well as Winnie, to assist the
adult population. ESL classes have
expanded to a beginner and advanced course this year due to increasing demand
for the classes. ESL is funded through a
grant from the Anahuac Municipal Development District. Many of the students who have completed ESL
have moved on to GED prep classes. It’s
a wonderful thing to see the personal growth of these students. They’re finding jobs and working to
contribute to the county in a positive way.
One of the more popular programs during September was ‘Zydeco
101’ taught by staff member LaShebia Haskin.
LaShebia had over 20 people at the library learning the basics of Zydeco
dance just in time for Gatorfest.
Several staff members from Anahuac set up at Gatorfest to represent the
library in the educational tent. Every
year we try to have a presence at the local festivals or other outreach
opportunities. It’s important for the
public to see our faces outside the library!
County Librarian Valerie Jensen and Assistant County
Librarian Annie Vass held a Canines and
event on the 17th
This program was a ticketed event done in partnership with the Friends
of the Library with proceeds split between the new library in Mont Belvieu and
the Baytown Humane Society. This event
was held on the library lawn and attendees were able to mingle with other dog
lovers while enjoying music, drinks, and pet photographs. A great time was had
by all, and we anticipate doing it again next year!
The Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie held
programs for the tween and teen crowds.
Duct Tape projects and DIY whiteboards were among the crafts. Movie nights, story time, computer classes,
and book club were also in full force.
We’ve pulled back on programs at Mont Belvieu so that we can
concentrate on more projects that need to be completed before we move. But the teens were able to have an Ultimate
Frisbee program outside on the library property. Movie night, story time, and book club will
continue through the rest of the year.
On the 23rd
, the teen and adult program staff met
at Anahuac. Once a year we try to find
time for staff members who specialize in age specific programs to meet and
share ideas so they can prepare for new activities in the months to come. Adult programs are slowly being added to the
library system’s calendar each month at all branches, so be on the lookout for
some fun (and unique) activities for the over 18 crowd.
Storytime officially started back the week of September 7th
. Staff member Jennifer Kellum filled in at
Mont Belvieu until the Children’s Librarian position was filled. Special thanks to her for helping out! Each branch holds a weekly story time
focusing on stories, crafts, songs, and movement exercises. Each year the crowds seem to grow, and the
parents tend to have just as much fun as the little ones. Winnie’s Children’s Librarian Yolie Belt
introduced an “iStorytime” where she included iPads/Technology as part of the
program. Children’s staff member
Michelle Mims attended iStorytime to get ideas of her own for Anahuac. You’re never too young (or old) to learn
technology…and the library’s the perfect spot to learn.
Canines & Cocktails at Anahuac
"Dot" story time at Winnie
Ultimate Frisbee at Mont Belvieu
Anahuac staff at Gatorfest
Library System – August, 2015
August was once again full of activities at the
libraries. Everyone was still coming
down from the Summer Reading high, but it wasn’t long before we picked right
back up for back to school activities and fall program planning.
The Friends of CCLS held their annual summer book sale at
the West Chambers Branch in Mont Belvieu.
This week long event brought in over $1000 profit to benefit library
programs and services. Book donations
provide us with such great stock to sell for the public, but we’ve had to put a
temporary halt on book donations at Mont Belvieu so we can have the space to
start boxing up office supplies. I know
this isn’t the most convenient for those of you who haul in boxes of books, but
it’s all part of the move and effort on our part to make a seamless transition
into the new library. The new Sam and
Carmena Goss Memorial Branch will house a permanent bookstore, which will be
open several days a week to the public.
We said goodbye to our summer helpers on August 8th, and
welcomed our part-time after-school workers shortly after. Summer help provides us with full time
student workers for 10 weeks, while the after-school help (called Pages), gives
us 15 hours each week of assistance shelving books, and doing other much needed
On the 11th
we held our quarterly Library
Advisory Board meeting. The group
discussed and voted on updating several policies. We also managed to snap a group photo. Library Advisory Board meetings are open to
the public, and members are appointed by Commissioners’ Court based on a
recommendation from the County Librarian.
Current members include: Sam Little, Carolyn Caldwell, Sarah Kathan,
Katie Jackson, Marlin Moore, Susie Davis, and Rhonda LeBlanc.
The branches held a Back to School Bash in August. Anahuac held their event at the middle school
in order to have the ZORB ball obstacle course, face painting, and volunteers
with the Anahuac Volunteer Fire Department present fire safety. Winnie held their event at the community
building with giant games, snacks and giveaways, while Mont Belvieu had an arts
& crafts day on the 13th
Special thanks to everyone involved – All Summer Long, John Willey,
Tracie Lasater, Yvonne Morgan, and not to mention the hard work of the entire
Staff member Kim Silcox held a game night at the Juanita
Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie. Over
20 tweens and teens enjoyed video games, board games, and of course lots of
Valerie Jensen and Annie Vass attended a United Way
committee meeting to update the group on the success of after-school tutorials
at the Chambers County Library in Anahuac.
A partnership with United Way planted the seed for the success of this
program. Ongoing cooperation from the
school and Sheriff’s Office allow the library to provide a space for students
to receive extra help after school. Once
the bell rings, the library is often times the only place where students can
access computers in order to finish up homework, check out books, or access
The adults at Anahuac were treated to Painting With a Twist
on the 13th
. A standing room
only crowd enjoyed creating a “Happy Hydrangeas” masterpiece that they could
paint and take home.
The Chambers County Historical Commission was recognized at
Commissioners’ Court on July 14th
for receiving the Distinguished
Service Award from the Texas Historical Commission. Congrats to the group on their dedication to the
county’s history and their ongoing work to preserve local landmarks and
Finally, the library system received a donation towards the
Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch from the West Chambers County Pilot
Club. The members presented a check for
$10,000.00 to be used for the purchase of Early Literacy Station
computers. We can’t thank the Pilots
enough for their support of the library!
Until next month!
Library Advisory Board members
Painting with a Twist at Anahuac
Back to School Bash fun at Anahuac
Back to School Bash fun at Anahuac
$10,000 donation from the West Chambers County Pilot Club towards the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library
Chambers County Library System - July report
at a Glance:
enrollment – up 8%
program attendance - up 51%
enrollment – up 7% from 2014
circulation June/July – 65,697
attended programs at the Chambers County Library System in June and July
Summer Reading came and went with a blur. I guess
that’s what happens when you’re having fun! Seems like we were just
gearing up for Kickoff week, now we’re sending over 150 thank you letters to
everyone who supported our program this year. The week of July 20th
ended the 6-week program with Superhero programs for the little ones, arts
& crafts, dodgeball, dances, and video games for the teens, and cooking,
CPR, and Zumba classes for the adults. We pride ourselves on providing great
programs for the public, and the public responded beyond our expectations with
their attendance. This year our overall attendance jumped over 50%.
That’s definitely something to be proud of!
To go along with our superhero theme, we decided to include
those heroes without capes and adopt a troop through Project Frontlines.
The 3rd Battalion 29th Field Artillery Regiment was
assigned to the library. We had a huge response and collected over 500
items from patrons at all 3 libraries. Monetary donations from the
American Legion Hall, Post #104 in Anahuac helped greatly with shipping costs,
and purchasing other small items of need. Items shipped out this week,
and should be delivered within a month.
A big thank you to our sponsors who donated their time,
talent, money, and coupons for our annual Summer Reading Program. The
response has been overwhelming from local businesses and groups who provide us
with incentives and prizes for our patrons. Also, to our Friends of the
Chambers County Library System group for underwriting the program, and to our
corporate sponsor, NRG, LLC for granting us funds to provide some of our bigger
programs for the kids. The smiles on kids’ faces and hundreds of “Thank
you’s” from the public made all the work and effort worth it.
We start planning for our summer program each October, so
I can’t say enough about the staff and their creativity when it comes to
programs and decorations. We had several people in line asking for the
cute Superhero decorations for their classrooms or churches. I love to
brag on the talented group I have! They go above and beyond and it
doesn’t go unnoticed. We were also given extra help this summer thanks to
the County Commissioners. Eight high school and college workers were
employed to help with our busy summer. These kids were worth their weight
in gold providing us with much needed extra hands.
In July, we welcomed our newest staff member, Pepper Trove
to the Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie. Pepper will provide
Winnie with much needed front desk help when the current part-timers are out of
County Librarian Valerie Jensen and Assistant County
Librarian Annie Vass took a trip to Groves Public Library and Hughes Library in
Nederland. Having close ties to several library directors in our area,
this allowed me to introduce Annie and have her see their buildings, hear their
successes, and get some insight in how Chambers County compares to our
neighbors. It’s great to keep in contact with our neighboring
Ongoing construction continues for the Sam and Carmena
Goss Memorial Branch in Mont Belvieu. The foundation is set, steel beams
are on order, and the parking lot is about to take shape. Things are
moving, and the next several months will be even busier with packing up our
existing library and making the move down the road. Programs at Mont
Belvieu will be fewer than normal to allow us to do the prep work we need as we
transition into the new building.
The Friends are still on their fundraising campaign, and
more donations are needed! Check out the www.samgosslibrary.org
website and see how you can contribute. You can purchase a brick paver
that will line the outside entry, make a general donation, or purchase a Naming
Opportunity such as iPads and landscaping features. Every little bit
Finally, the library received a $1500 grant from the
Texas Book Festival for new Young Adult books at the Juanita Hargraves Memorial
Branch in Winnie. This competitive grant is awarded each year and
announced at the annual Texas Library Association conference. The teens
at Winnie were excited to see some new popular titles on the shelves.
Donna Boullion, Adult Summer Reading raffle winner at Anahuac
Kids at the West Chambers Branch enjoying the end of summer party
Kids showing their appreciation to our 2015 sponsors and adopted troop