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!


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

 
Chambers County 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 public.  

Until next month!
Kids enjoy the snapping alligator at Gatorfest!

Kids enjoy the Homeschool Science program at Mont Belvieu



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

 

Back to school!

Chambers County 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 today! 

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 running. 

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 12. 

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. 

Until next month!


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!


 

Another record year!

Chambers County Library System – July, 2014

Summer Reading Snapshot:


Books read – up 87%
Children’s enrollment – up 9%
Teen enrollment – up 15%
Program attendance (kids) – up 20%
Program attendance (teens) – up 4%
Overall circulation – up 29%


46,371 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 it. 

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 shape. 

And finally, 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!

 

Summer Reading is in full swing!

Chambers County Library System – June, 2014

I love to brag about our library and the great team we have.  We all work very hard to provide the public with the best service possible.  One of our most anticipated and fun times of the year is our annual Summer Reading Program.  We spend several months planning and preparing for summer, and our efforts tend to pay off each year.  Over the past few weeks we have managed to enroll over 1,000 kids and teens in the program, and right at 5,000 people attended programs during the first 3 weeks.  We checked out 49,830 items last month including print and electronic, making it the largest circulating month in the library’s history.  That’s something Chambers County should be proud of! 

Summer started off with “Kickoff Week”, designed to encourage signups while offering different activities the first week of Summer Reading.  If you were anywhere near the library you might have seen Sheriff Hawthorne passing out sno-cones, the Chuck-e-Cheese mouse, Chick-fil-a Cow, Mad Scientist Librarians, Balloons and Cotton candy, and much more!  The buildings and parking lots were filled to capacity with kids and their parents eager to get the summer started. 
The weekly programs we have for kids, teens, and adults involves the time and talents of library staff, volunteers, and/or paid performers.  The Friends of the Chambers County Library System are the major underwriters for our summer program, along with county funds, and donations that the staff solicits during our planning phase of the year.  Without the help of these people, our program could not continue to grow in size and popularity.  One of our new programs this year was the Texas A&M Chemistry Roadshow.  Their goal is to entertain and educate through science.  Their program definitely fell in line with our theme of, FIZZ, BOOM, READ! with over an hour of non-stop science experiments.  They’ll be performing in Mont Belvieu on July 8, at 2pm if you want to check them out. 

The library’s eBook and audiobook service, Overdrive, held a challenge to see if libraries could increase their highest circulating month by 25%.  If so, we would receive $1500 in content credit to purchase additional titles.  Of course we love a challenge, so I told the staff to really push the eBook and audiobook services during the month of June with the hopes we just might hit a peak month.  We needed 755 downloads to reach that goal and we did it!  Our total checkouts for June was 765, which gives us credit to purchase popular titles for all ages.  And we welcome your title requests!

County Librarian Valerie Jensen and Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass attended the monthly library design meeting for the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library in Mont Belvieu.  Annie and I have been working closely with the group to narrow down floor plans and designs.  We’ve also been getting feedback from the Mont Belvieu staff about what they want for the new building.  So much goes into library space planning and design, and it’s such a fun process. 

Adults at Anahuac attended a program presented by Bayou City Paranormal.  Representatives from the group came to share their findings of investigations they did of the Chamber Home, Library, and Dr. Schilling’s office.  The program was standing room only with the group enjoying audio and video clips captured by members of the group.  Want to know if the library is haunted?  Or if General Chambers still looks out his window?  Or if Dr. Schilling has some unfinished business at his office?  Stop by the library and ask one of the staff to share the stories with you.  The next adult programs at Anahuac will take place July 17 at 5:30 with Jim Catalina teaching the basics of wine-making.  And on July 29th at 5:30 for “Painting with a Twist!”  Registration required.  Call 409-267-2554 to sign up and visit us at www.chambers.lib.tx.us.

Until next month!


 

The calm before the storm....

Chambers County Library System – May, 2014

It’s the calm before the storm as we head into our annual Summer Reading Program.  May is the time of year where we scramble to make sure all our months and months of preparation have paid off.  The staff has worked so hard on this year’s summer activities and we’re looking forward to another banner year!  The branches have done a fantastic job with their decorations this year – if you haven’t seen the walls covered in scientists, slime, and robots, you need to stop by; it’s definitely worth a look!  The theme this year is FIZZ, BOOM, READ! for the kids, Spark a Reaction for the teens, and Literary Elements for the adults.  There’s definitely something for everyone this year.  The fun starts June 9th so sign up early and read often!

With storytime ending the week of the 5th, the libraries still had time to throw in some fun programs.  Each branch had their usual movie nights and teen programs, while the adults continued with their book club meetings.  One of the highlights in May was the kickoff meeting for the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library.  Several representatives from the County, City, Friends of CCLS, and Barbers Hill ISD were in attendance to get their first glimpse at some possibilities for design and floor plans.  The chosen architect is just as excited as we are!  It seems unreal to be at this point when it’s been in the talking phases for so long.  Definitely some goose bumps in that meeting!  After the initial kickoff meeting, things will start to move fast, and we’re more than ready to keep up with their pace.  On the 16th the County Librarian took several staff members on a “field trip” to area libraries.  It was a time for us to see how other buildings were laid out, how they function with staffing, and get some ideas for our new building.  Needless to say we came back with some great input from the very accommodating librarians who shared their beautiful buildings with us.   We ended up being very partial to the Evelyn Meador library in Seabrook.  It was beautiful and exactly the style we’re aiming for.   

Pride in our Young Adults at Anahuac should be felt by all our citizens.  For over 3 months, teens at the library planned and executed “Ana-Con,” a small anime conference which was held on Saturday, May 17th from 1pm-7pm.  Around 75 youth attended from as far away as Hamshire Fannett; they heard about it at the Winnie library and just had to see what it was all about.  The event was very successful and special thanks to LaShebia Haskin for her guidance and encouragement of the teens.    

During the month of May the staff did quite a bit of outreach at the local schools, day cares, and other organizations.  This time of year the public is eager to hear about upcoming activities we have planned for the summer.  The schools look forward to the fun presentations done by the staff to get kids excited about reading!

GED and ESL classes continue to be thriving at the Anahuac branch.  Thanks to the Anahuac Municipal Development District for their funding, the program continues with students eager to continue their education.  Teacher Katherine Wilkins is doing a fantastic job of encouraging the students and it shows in the attendance. 

Speaking of encouraging students, the ongoing after-school tutorials at Anahuac which is supported by Anahuac ISD and United Way of Greater Baytown and Chambers County came to an end with the last day of school.  We are happy to report that of the students who attended tutorials, 9 of the kids met their reading and math standard.  These are kids who had never met those standards before.  Their test scores also went up 200 points which was a great outcome considering the STAAR test just ended.  Special thanks to all the volunteers who spared their valuable time to help the kids.  It was definitely worth the time and effort and we’re looking forward to next school year. 

The Library Advisory Board met on the 17th.  They had a several policies given by County Librarian, Valerie Jensen to discuss for update and approval.  The Advisory Board meets 4 times a year, and is composed of 7 members residing across the county. 

Until next month!


Thursday, May 08, 2014

 

April report

Chambers County 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 together.   

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.  The 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.  
Winnie’s “tween” 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

Until next month!
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



Tuesday, April 08, 2014

 

Chambers County Library System - March, 2014

Chambers County Library System – March, 2014

March came and went in a flash and the libraries were buzzing as usual with almost 10,000 people coming through our doors.  It’s such a wonderful thing to see the amount of people visiting, but I shouldn’t be surprised with the talented and dedicated staff we have providing our county with such quality programs and service. 

Speaking of being busy, this time of year our newly purchased books with our new budget have all been cataloged.  But over the last couple of years, other services such as Interlibrary Loan, book sales, inventory, summer reading preparation, etc. have picked up and overshadowed this priority.  People don’t always think about the work and time that goes into getting all those pretty books, DVDs, Interlibrary Loans, audiobooks, and other materials to their hands for checkout.  But it takes a great deal of effort and eye for detail.  We’ve been forced to take an hour here and there from an existing staff at Anahuac to help lessen the load from our Technical Services Librarian, Kathy Fielding so we’re able to stay on task.  With the upcoming new library on the west side, all these “behind the scenes” jobs will increase and so will the need for additional personnel in that department.  I have to give a huge thank you to Kathy who has done a stellar job at keeping Tech Services running smoothly and those popular best sellers on the shelves in a timely manner. 

March started with our annual “Read Across America” programs celebrating the anniversary of the birth of children’s author, Dr. Seuss.  Each year on or near March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss is celebrated by encouraging adults and children to read together.  All 3 Chambers County libraries celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday with a special visit from Cat in the Hat and celebrated with reading some Dr. Seuss, activities, games, and other fun activities.  

After-school tutorials continue at the Chambers County Library in Anahuac.  Students attend weekly tutorial sessions led by volunteer tutors and library staff.  Volunteers are always needed on a rotating basis to help the middle school aged students with their math and reading homework.  Contact Aquilia De la Cruz if you are interested at, 409-267-2554.

Teens at Anahuac and Mont Belvieu were treated to a field trip to see the popular film adaptation of Divergent.  Divergent is the first in a popular book trilogy for teens, and our reserve list is pages long! 

In January, GED and ESL classes were put on hiatus.  We attempted to seek alternate funding to support the program and thanks to the Anahuac Municipal Development District, they have agreed to fund the program for the next year.  GED and ESL classes have always been well attended and much needed, and with this grant we’ll be able to purchase new and updated materials for students.  If you’re interested in attending any of these classes, please contact the Anahuac branch at 409-267-2554.  Classes will resume May 5.

The County Employee Health and Benefits Fair, held on the 26th, was an opportunity for the library system to preach to our peers.  Our library booth featured a variety of exercise, disease, and health-oriented DVDs and books.  We also managed to work in a few items of interest from our general collection, like our online database programs for downloading audiobooks, and other online services.  Quite a few employees who stopped were very interested in what we can offer them.  We also managed to get a donation of fruit from Food Town in Baytown.  Apples, bananas, and oranges were quite a hit with our visitors! 


Until next month!  
Assistant County Librarian, Annie Vass at the Employee Health Fair

Mont Belvieu kids enjoy storytime!

Anahuac kids enjoy Dr. Seuss!


Friday, February 07, 2014

 

Starting the new year off right!

Chambers County Library System – January, 2014

January 1 brings the library’s new budget year, and with that we begin the fun task of ordering new books, supplies, equipment, and other services for our public.  It’s always exciting when we get the opportunity to fulfill all our patron book requests! 

In programming news, the Chambers County Library in Anahuac celebrated 6 years of book club.  The ladies had dinner at Luna’s and discussed their latest read, Where’d you go, Bernadette.  Book club has quickly become a popular program at all 3 branches.  Winnie and Mont Belvieu’s clubs recently turned 1!  Besides book club, the adults had several other programs to choose from.  Count Librarian, Valerie Jensen taught a beginning cheese making class with over 30 attendees.  Everyone enjoyed a sample, and even got to make their own homemade mozzarella.  Basic computer classes (also in Spanish), craft club, and genealogy rounded out the month. 

The teens also had their share of fun.  Winnie tweens and teens had crafts and a movie day, while Mont Belvieu held Yukikon, a Japanese Winter Ball complete with video games, food, and music.  Over 30 teens attended, and a fun time was had by all.  It’s great to how programs that started at one branch have spread in popularity throughout the county.  Means we’re doing something right! 

The new library working group for the West Chambers Branch library is made up of County Librarian Valerie Jensen, Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass, Commissioner Gary Nelson, County Engineer Bobby Hall, Superintendent Greg Poole, and City Representatives Bryan Easum and Nathan Watkins.  For the past year, we’ve been doing quite a bit of behind the scenes work to make the Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library a reality.  Last week the final Interlocal agreement was passed, and soon the fun starts with floor plans and design.  This is definitely a dream come true for yours truly, not to mention the staff, and citizens on the West side.  Valerie and Annie also attended a webinar with the State Library about the updates with the Annual Report, and also spent time finalizing some local community grants as well as grants with the Texas Book Festival.   Our plates stay pretty full!

In personnel news, we recently added 2 new Librarian Technicians to our team.  Becky Storey is providing some much needed front desk relief at Mont Belvieu, and Shelby Fielding has jumped in at Anahuac taking on computer classes, craft club, and fills in at book club when needed.

A big thank you to Building Maintenance and IT for their fast help setting up the Anahuac meeting room.  It’s now complete with a mounted projector and surround sound to make movie nights even more enjoyable.  Also, a television plays most days for patrons to enjoy the news or other educational channels.  This room is one of the few places available for public meetings during and after library hours.  The room books quickly, so call in advance to reserve your time and date.  Don’t forget you must have a library card!  Stop by and take advantage of the library’s new “media room” and enjoy a nice quiet space.

Finally, it’s that time of year where tax forms are in high demand.  This year the IRS is delivering forms and booklets as they become available.  Booklets are starting to trickle in, so it shouldn’t be much longer before we have them at the libraries.  Check back or call to check the status of tax form and booklet deliveries.  

Until next month!

Adults having fun making cheese!

Mont Belvieu kids enjoying storytime!

Winnie kids enjoying storytime!



Monday, January 06, 2014

 

December @ the Library

Chambers County Library System - December report

 
 
 
Total circulation:  225,035
 
Total database logons:  11,073
 
Program attendance:  14,479
 
Public computer logons:  24,713
 
Wireless logons:  4,523
 
Walk-in traffic:  140,555


One of the most popular questions asked by the public seems to always be, “Are people still checking out print books?”.  The answer is always a resounding “YES!”.  Our eBook/audiobook circulation continues to rise each month, and so does our print circulation.  In 2013, print circulation went up 5% from 2012.  Overdrive, our free audiobook/eBook downloadable service, had a 27% increase over last year’s numbers.  We’ve held several programs to get the public more familiar with Overdrive, so stay tuned for the next one, or just stop or call the library for help. 

 

Our program attendance was also up from 2012, and our overall circulation continues to climb.  I could not be more proud of this library system, the staff, and our wonderful public who continue to see the library as the best use of taxpayer’s money. 

 

We try our best to provide the best possible electronic content for our public, and one of our database resources that we provide (for free) to the public is called TexShare.  TexShare provides exclusive databases in areas of science, health, business, history and literature.  Plus homework help for students elementary through college.  The cost for Chambers County is $576, but broken down by vendor and without help from the state library, it would cost us $59,031.  A huge savings to the county, and a wonderful resource for the public. 

 
Some highlights of 2013 include:

 

·         Our highest circulation ever for the annual Summer Reading Program – 36,702!

·         Library received grant towards the purchase of 2 Early Literacy Station computers

·         Library received grant to digitize The Age newspapers

·         Assistant County Librarian, Annie Vass joined the team

·         Over $2,500 made in Friends of the library book sales

·         City of Mont Belvieu bond passes to help fund new library for the West Side

·         Library System partners with United Way to offer after school tutoring

 

Children’s programs in December mean Christmas, and along with singing, stories, and crafts, jolly old St. Nick showed up a couple of times as well. Our programs are geared for the elementary school-aged crowd, while our weekly story hours focus on preschoolers. The kids had a great time this year. Kudos to all of our children’s programming people for their work in planning the programs.

The Friends of the Chambers County Library System held their annual December book sale at Anahuac and Mont Belvieu.  Just over $1,200 was raised with the profits going to ongoing library programs.  The book sale offers books, movies, and magazines for less than $1 each.  Not a bad profit for a few days’ work!

We also received a nice surprise from our friends at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.  A donation was made to purchase books for the library on ecology, estuaries, marshes and related topics.  The library appreciates the continued support from the refuge.

And finally, throughout the year we keep statistics on the number of books checked out, walk-in traffic, program counts, database usage, and much more.  It’s all part of our efforts to maintain standards as they are set by the Texas State Library.  The standards include requirements in administration, collection, facility, finance, marketing, personnel, service, and technology.  The purpose of these standards is to promote quality library service, raise expectations of library clientele, and provide some official documentation to Commissioners’ court and potential funders who support the library.  Chambers County has always exceeded the minimum required standards and we hope our service to the public is representative of that. 

Until next month!
Winnie teens enjoy their field trip to see Catching Fire

County Librarian, Valerie Jensen accepts a donation from incoming Friends of the Anahuac Refuge Treasurer, Rose Bolt
 

Mont Belvieu staff pose with Santa at the after school Christmas party
 
 
 

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