Chambers County Library System – June, 2015
Summer is in full force at the Chambers County Library
System! We’ve turned the entire county into superheroes, and even a few
elected officials dawned some superhero capes! This year we decided to do
things a little different with summer reading. Instead of requiring kids
to read a certain amount of books and write down titles, we handed out game
boards where kids colored in stars for every 20 minutes they read each
day. This still allowed for coupons and incentives from our local
businesses who support us each year, but it gave the kids a little
responsibility by keeping up with their game boards during the 6 week
program. This year we shifted the focus more on our events, programs, and
getting the public more involved in their library. We’ve also been more
present with social media than ever before. With over a 24% increase in
program attendance compared to last June (that’s over 1,000 in the month of
June alone), and over a 47% increase in new patron card applications, I would
say we definitely succeeded. The goal for any public library is to put a
library card in everyone’s hands, and create lifelong library users and we’re
proud to see such great library support from the citizens of the county.
Officer Mount with his K9 "Maddie" at Mont Belvieu
June started off with Kickoff Week at the branches.
Local heroes who visited included County Judge Jimmy Sylvia, JP 4 Blake Sylvia,
County Treasurer Nikki Whittington, Texas Ranger Brandon Bess, Deputy Dan
Houghton, Sheriff Brian Hawthorne, and local fire and ems workers county
wide. Several representatives from local businesses came to pass out
candy, sno-cones, or even supply the snacks for program day. Again, the
support from this community is unmatched!
County Judge Jimmy Sylvia
The week of the 16th
, we welcomed a new program
with the Circus Chickendog show. Entertainer Darren Peterson held the
attention of hundreds of kids while featuring six rescued circus dogs, a
scarlet macaw, live accordion, juggling, unicycling, and other circus
skills. He was definitely a hit! Our next program was with the
Southwest Texas Dairy Farmers. Volunteers brought a live cow milking
demonstration to each of the libraries and educated the kids on nutrition, and
dairy product information. Kids enjoyed ice cream following the
Southwest Dairy Farmers volunteer, Larry Graham and "Pepper"
The teens have also been having a great summer. A
record breaking 50+ teens attended Winnie’s first program on the 9th
to make superhero capes and masks. Their implementation of tween programs
during the year has definitely helped boost attendance for teen
programs. Other programs included make your own bow and arrow,
masquerade masks, and a Masquerade party at Anahuac, while Mont Belvieu held a
video game day, art contests, and a movie marathon. The staff does such a
great job of coming up with creative ideas to entice this hard to reach age
This year our adults have had several programs to look
forward to. Anahuac and Mont Belvieu continued their monthly book club
meetings, and also held Zumba classes for adults. Both branches had good
crowds for Zumba, which was led by volunteers from the local fitness
centers. Anahuac also held, “Who is your everyday hero” program led by
staff member Jennifer Kellum. Creative crafts and goodies were made by
everyone to give to the heroes in their lives. An ongoing program we have
at all 3 branches is the Project Frontlines donation box to support a troop
overseas. So far we’ve collected over 5 big boxes to send, with another
week left to collect. Next month there are still more programs planned
Zumba at Anahuac!
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into planning our
summer program. We could not do it without our wonderful, much needed
summer helpers. Our hardworking kids include: Melani Aguilar,
Kathryn Sherman, Taylor Dunnigan, Sarah Davis, Sarah Hubert, Sarah Cripps,
Sonia Torres, and Kristen Bertrand. Their help is invaluable this time of
year, assisting the staff at programs, Summer Reading sign-ups, keeping the
books on the shelves, and much more. We always appreciate the court’s
generosity by allowing us these extra hands during our busiest time of
year. We also thank all the commissioners for allowing the libraries to
use the community buildings. When you have 100+ kids at a program, the meeting
rooms just aren’t big enough.
Summer help at Winnie, Sarah 1 and Sarah 2
The library received a literacy foundation grant from Dollar
General this year for $2,000. Dollar General has funded literacy programs
for over 20 years, and their focus is to help individuals advance their
literacy skills, which fits nicely with our mission at the library.
Finally, the library continues to work on the contents at
the historical museum. One of our summer helpers has been working hard
scanning items to get ready for cataloging before renovations begin on the
building. Another county department will be utilizing part of the
space. The scanning and cataloging will be a long process, but worth it
in the end when the public will have access to items that have been hidden away
for years. The Chambers County Historical Commission was given the honor
of “Distinguished Service Award” from the Texas State Historical
Commission. They will be recognized at the next Commissioners’ Court for
their hard work promoting the county’s rich history.
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!
Aquilia De la Cruz gets ready for Summer Reading at the Chambers County Library
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.
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
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
Librarian, Annie Vass shows off the Walmart grant with her sidekick, Wonder
On the 16th
, the young people of Anahuac held
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
Library System – March, 2015
Each month the library system compiles a report with
specific statistical information. How
many books did we check out? How many
reference questions were we asked? How
many Interlibrary Loan books did we receive?
How many kids attended a program?
And the list goes on. At the end
of the year, we take these monthly reports and gather all the info along with
other required data and send to the Texas State Library for review. As long as the county meets the local funding
requirements for our assigned population, and our collection is the appropriate
size per capita, we are certified as an “Accredited” library for another
Thanks to the Friends of CCLS, the items they purchased on
the staff’s “wish list” have started to come in. The wish list includes small items that we
don’t have county funds to purchase, so our Friends help out when they
can. So far this year they’ve purchased
a rug for the children’s section at Anahuac, new book carts, barcode scanners,
puppets for story time, and a few other items.
We’re definitely thankful for our Friends!
Jared the library turtle reads a book on
the new rug in the children’s section at Anahuac.
Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass and I did some
outreach on the 26th
at the county’s Health and Wellness Fair. It was a great opportunity to show off the
resources the library has that can be used for wellness points for county
employees. We featured health and
wellness books, magazines, and DVDs. We
also passed out fruit donated by Food Town, which seemed to be a hit!
Vass at the county’s Health
and Wellness fair
Earlier in the month we visited PBK, the architects in
charge of the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library at their office
in downtown Houston. We spent half the
day choosing fabrics to go on all the furniture. We’ve gone with a green/orange/blue color
scheme that we think will flow well and look inviting. Branch Librarian Missy Parham joined us and
did a great job helping narrow down just the right colors – she also enjoyed
seeing her future desk! Construction has
begun, and it’s extremely exciting to see progress being made.
Entry to the construction site at the Sam
and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library
Staff member Jennifer Kellum held a unique program in March
in honor of Women’s History month. She’s
in charge of adult programming at the main branch and has done a great job
coming up with different ideas. This
program allowed women to invite another woman in their life who has been an
inspiration to them. The program
featured a talk about women’s history, attendees spoke about an inspirational
woman in their lives, and a small brunch was served. Jennifer also pointed out the women who were
in attendance who help with book sales, after school tutorials, or volunteer
efforts at the library.
Women's History month program at Anahuac
During Spring break the library system held several programs
for the kids and teens to stay busy during their week off. A movie marathon, Spring Fling, Family craft
day, and other fun activities provided hours of entertainment for all
Spring Break also coincided with Teen Tech Week. Teen Tech Week is a week when libraries make
the time to showcase all of the great digital resources and services that are
available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st
century careers. Winnie featured a
“Digital Footprints” program, while Anahuac teens enjoyed a DIY digital craft
County Librarian Valerie Jensen was invited by the ESA
Sorority’s Literature and Drama department to speak at their monthly
meeting. About 20 women, (some of them
regular library patrons) gathered to hear about the library’s latest services
and programs. The women were very
enthusiastic about book club, and learning more about the downloadable books
offered for free to the public. It’s
great to share what the library does to the various community groups in the
March ended with a book sale at the Chambers County Library
in Anahuac. Their 4 day sale allowed
customers a little extra time to rummage through all the donations that we’re
unable to keep. Book sales continue to
be one of the Friends’ most lucrative fundraisers for the past 20 years.
Until next month!
Valerie Jensen, County Librarian
Library System – February, 2015
February was full of fun at the Chambers County Library
System! With 963 people attending 45
programs, it’s easy to see that your library is the hub of the community! From Valentine’s Day parties for the little
ones, to computer classes in Spanish, there’s something for everyone at your
Staff member Kim Hart led an ‘e-Couponing’ class for adults
at Mont Belvieu. She used her expertise
of mobile couponing to create a program that was quite a hit! The program included tips and tricks to save
money using your smartphone, or other mobile device.
The Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie held their
annual book sale along with a Community Book Swap. Local residents and Barbers Hill ISD
teachers, Kellie Rogers and Lisa Ledoux spent several hours offering a great
selection of books to patrons who wanted to trade one of their own. This is the 2nd
year Kellie and
Lisa have organized the book swap in conjunction with the book sale, and we
look forward to continuing this for years to come.
February was National Children’s Dental Health Month, and
this brought the little ones a treat with a visit from the Tooth Fairy in
Winnie and Mont Belvieu. The kids
enjoyed hearing songs to make brushing their teeth fun, and brought home a
little goodie from the Tooth Fairy herself!
Anahuac kiddos enjoyed a visit from dentist, Dr. King with Bayside
The Chambers County Library in Anahuac hosted The Rose
mobile mammography unit. The Rose offers
an alternative to hospitals and doctor’s offices by bringing mammogram testing
to off-site locations. County nurse practitioner
Mary Beth Bess came a few days before to share some breast cancer prevention
tips to the 16 women were able to get screened.
February provided the library
system with another opportunity to show the communities some of the things we
do best. National Read Across America Day was celebrated at all three libraries
celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss.
The Cat in the Hat made a visit to all the branches, and activities
included songs, stories, snacks, and tons of Dr. Seuss fun!
Teens and tweens at Winnie enjoyed game nights with Young
Adult Librarian, Kim Silcox. Kim had
quite a crowd as she allowed the teens to play videogames, enjoy snacks, and
play traditional board games. The teens
always enjoy having the library to themselves so they can get a little noisy!
On the 28th, the Friends of the Chambers County
Library System held their annual meeting.
The Friends spent their time updating those in attendance on activities
held throughout the year, discussion of the library’s “wish list” of items not
funded in the county budget, and selection of the library system’s employee of
the year. The 2014 Employee of the Year
was selected, and the honor went to Michelle Mims in Anahuac. Michelle has been with the library over 8
years as Children’s Librarian and Technical Services assistant. Michelle has done a great job increasing
attendance with storytime, and developing creative and interactive activities
for the kids. She’s one of the most
cross trained members of the library staff.
The Friends also gave an update on the fundraising campaign for the new Sam
and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library.
County Librarian, Valerie Jensen gave a ‘State of the Library System’
speech, giving those in attendance a snapshot of the year, as well as new
things to come.
And finally, The Friends of the Chambers County Library System
announced a gift of $100,000 from Enterprise Products. This donation will fund
the Multipurpose Community Room at the new branch library building in Mont
Belvieu, to be known as the Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library. Bob Moss, Mont Belvieu plant manager for
Enterprise Products, said: “Enterprise is very interested in improving
literacy, and we couldn’t think of a better way to do that than
supporting the new library building.”
Dentist, Dr. King visits the Anahuac library for storytime
Employee of the year Michelle Mims and Friends of CCLS president Jean Abshier Forrest
Enterprise Products donates $100,000 towards the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library
The Rose mobile mammography unit visits Anahuac
After-school tutorials in Anahuac with OneOK volunteers
Community Book Swap and book sale at Winnie
Tooth Fairy visits Winnie storytime!
Winnie tweens enjoy game night!
Library System – January, 2015
New year, new money! January
1 brings the library’s new budget year, and with that we begin the fun task of
ordering new books, supplies, equipment, and other services for our public. Boxes are stacking up in Tech Services,
anxiously awaiting to be cataloged and processed so they can be placed on the
shelves for our public. It’s always refreshing
to have the ability to fill request from patrons, and provide services that are
in high demand. We are forever grateful
to Commissioners’ Court for their ongoing support of the library system.
In programming news, we continue to offer top notch programs
to the public. System-side we offered
over 45 programs to kids, teens, and adults during the month of January. From science programs to movie marathons, we
have something for everyone. As
librarians, we try to actively create services and programs that are community
focused. And as a result, we hope that
the public advocates on behalf of their public library. We’re
no longer just a place for books, we’re also here to provide information and
help people connect, engage, and become lifelong library users!
The Chambers County
Library in Anahuac was featured in the Texas Library Association’s Cool Stuff
Initiative page on Pinterest. An “I Spy”
table was created by employees Melani Aguilar and Shelby Fielding. Children’s Librarian Michelle Mims submitted
the photo, and it’s been a topic of conversation on the popular social
site. Kids love coming to the library to
search and find objects on the table.
The West Chambers Branch in Mont Belvieu held their 2nd
annual Yukikon event on the 27th
New Teen Librarian Kara DeLaughter jumped right in providing fun games
and activities for the teens. Yukikon is
an even that primarily focuses on anime, manga, and Japanese culture. The Chambers County Library in Anahuac will
soon be holding their 8th
annual “Ana-Con” event in May.
The federal “e-rate” program has been in operation since
1998, and with the exception of one year, Chambers County has received this
reimbursement on Internet access and phone lines to our libraries. This is done because we provide access to the
Internet for the public, and use our phone lines for assisting the public and
for faxing. The e-rate program is received
yearly, and provides a wealth of good to the general public.
All 3 libraries held a Downton Abbey movie marathon complete
with tea and cookies. The popular PBS
series has been quite the buzz lately, and several people came to see what it
was all about.
At the January 27th
Commissioners’ Court, Branch
Librarians Aquilia De la Cruz (Anahuac), Cindy Alegria (Winnie), and Missy
Parham (Mont Belvieu) were recognized for their completion of the Small Library
Management program. This 2 year program
gives the ladies a better background of libraries for smaller community
libraries. The program focuses on
administration, management, policy development, collection development,
reference services, and technology.
And finally, ongoing plans and meetings continue with Chambers
County, the City of Mont Belvieu, County Librarian Valerie Jensen and Assistant
County Librarian Annie Vass for the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch
Library in Mont Belvieu. County
Librarian Valerie Jensen spoke at request to a Bridge Group where Carmena was a
long time member to update them on the new library progress. The group wants to contribute in Carmena’s
name, and you could definitely tell she meant a lot to this nice bunch of
ladies. Plans to break ground have been
put on temporary hold, but the
public should start seeing some changes within
the next couple of months.
Until next month! Valerie
Jensen, County Librarian
being recognized by Chambers County Commissioners’ Court
Kaiden King is proud
of his artwork during storytime at Anahuac
The Yukikon gang at the
West Chambers Branch in Mont Belvieu
The “I Spy” table at
the Chambers County Library in Anahuac as featured in the “Cool Stuff
Initiative” through Texas Library
circulation: 230,030 – 6% increase from
Total walk in
traffic: 140,815 – 2% increase from 2013
attendance: 17,044 – 16% increase from
logons: 5,294 – 17% increase from 2013
usage: 16,742 - 51% increase from 2013
Some highlights of 2014
Our highest circulation ever for the
annual Summer Reading Program – 46,371!
Library received a grant from the Texas
State Library towards the purchase of 10 iPads for after-school tutorial
Three new staff members joined the CCLS
The Friends of the library made $2,648
in book sales
Highest Friends membership in the
library’s history with 478 members
All 3 branch librarians completed their
Small Library Management training
We started off the month of December with our annual staff
training and county safety meeting on the 4th
. It’s rare that we’re all in the same room at
once, so this gives us an opportunity to introduce new staff to everyone, and
also have training on topics that might need a little extra attention. Of course we all bring breakfast goodies to
snack on! It’s wonderful to have such a
dedicated group of ladies working for this library system. I must say they’re a great bunch to have.
December also begins the task of preparing for the new
budget year. Vendors begin their calls
to schedule meeting times to share their latest books and products. We generally have a select group of book vendors
we deal with and this allows us to get some great selections for the collection
in both print and digital.
In programming news, the libraries were hopping with kids
and teens. Anahuac held their annual
“Twas the night” event with Mrs. Claus paying a visit. Parents and their kids enjoyed lots of games,
pizza, and of course stories from Mrs. Claus.
The Winnie teens enjoyed a lock-in on the 22nd
. Over 25 teens attended this fun packed event
that lasted from 8pm-6am at the community building. And rounding out the year were Christmas parties
at each of the libraries with visits from Santa and his Mrs.
The Friends held their “Gently Used Book Sale” at Anahuac
and Mont Belvieu on Dec. 11-13 bringing in quite a profit! Both libraries were buzzing with people
loading boxes of books to add to their own personal collections. Donated items tend to take up a lot of space
at the libraries so we look forward to the sales.
At Anahuac, GED and ESL classes continue to prosper! Katherine Wilkins, the teacher for both
classes has a great group of students.
Her teaching methods are unique and effective, and the students enjoy learning
from her. She shares inspirational
stories from her students who have gone on to complete their GED, or spoke
English for the first time in public. For
more information, please contact the library at 409-267-2554. GED classes are held every Tuesday from 6-9pm
and ESL classes are Wednesdays from 6-9pm.
All materials are provided and there is no cost to attend classes.
The CCLS staff in their ugly sweaters on staff training day
Winnie teens enjoying their Christmas lock-in!
Mont Belvieu kids enjoying a visit from Santa!
Library System – November, 2014
Total Circulation for the month of November: 12,797
November came and went in a flash! We were open 100 hours less than last month,
but that certainly didn’t slow us down.
We had over 12,000 items circulate during November, and over 500 titles
downloaded from our digital collection, Overdrive. The Overdrive Digital Bookmobile made an appearance at the West Chambers Branch in Mont Belvieu on the 7th
. Overdrive is a digital distributor partnering
with libraries all over the world to bring digital content to the public. As part of their Gulf Coast tour, the
bookmobile spent the day at the West Chambers Branch where patrons could bring
their devices and ask questions, or simply learn about the services we
The new library planning at Mont Belvieu is still going
strong. County Librarian Valerie Jensen,
and Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass attended a meeting in Houston at the
design firm, PBK. This meeting allowed
us to see in detail the library design, carpet samples, and furniture
options. We anticipate breaking ground
Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch Librarian Cindy Alegria
attended her final Small Library Management course on the 3rd
Brazoria County. This program is intended
for management staff to get intense training in the areas of administration,
management, policy development, collection development, reference services,
youth services, and technology training.
It’s a crash course in library school.
I’m very proud to say that all Chambers County Library System branch
librarians, as well as our Technical Librarian have completed the program.
Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass attended a grant
writing workshop in Beaumont. This
workshop was sponsored by Grant Writing USA.
As a young professional, Annie has a great eye for grant opportunities
and has also had success with her first two grant applications. The library seeks out as many grants as
possible to supplement the county budget, and we look forward to using some of
the skills Annie learned on our future grant endeavors.
Several staff members attended webinars on the 2015 Summer
Reading Program. The Texas State Library
provides free training for staff to offer ideas for the upcoming “Every Hero
has a Story” reading program. Chambers
County Library System prides itself on a wildly successful summer program. As a group, the entire staff of the library
system comes up with outstanding ideas and programs for the children, teens,
and adults of Chambers County. We’re
looking forward to 2015….it’s going to be super!
Teens at Winnie enjoyed a movie field trip to see the latest
Hunger Games movie. Staff member Kim
Silcox took a group on the 22nd,
and the movie did not
disappoint! Anahuac teens also had a
trip planned in the afternoon of the same day, but due to the bad weather,
decided to err on the side of safety and reschedule.
The Library Advisory Board met on the 18th
. No policies were discussed, but newest member
Rhonda LeBlanc was able to be introduced to the group. The Advisory Board meets 4 times a year, and
is composed of 7 members residing across the county.
Finally, after-school tutorials started November 10th
at the Chambers County Library in Anahuac.
A partnership between Anahuac ISD, United Way of Greater Baytown and
Chambers County, and the Chambers County Sheriff’s Department allows the
library to spend an hour each week giving one on one homework help to selected
middle school students. A grant of 10 iPads
awarded to the library lets the students use purchased apps geared towards
enhancing math and reading skills.
Mont Belvieu patrons enjoy the Digital Bookmobile
Tweens at Winnie
having fun at the Diary of a Wimpy Kid program