This was our busiest September to date at the Chambers County Library
System with over 20,000 items circulated.
September began with programs catered to our tiniest
patrons. Storytime and Babygarten
started the week of September 6th
at all the libraries with crowds
that didn’t disappoint. Our traditional
storytime programs feature songs, stories, crafts and activities for the 6 and
under crowd, while our newest program Babygarten, focuses on music, rhymes, and
developmental skills for babies up to 24 months. Babygarten has proven to be a huge success,
and the children’s staff is to be commended for the fantastic job they have
done planning and implementing programs for each of these age groups. Newest children’s staff member Jinnie
McClennan and Teen Programmer Shelby Fielding attended a Transforming Preschool
Storytime workshop where they learned some tips on early literacy skills and
engaging children with stories.
On the 19th
held our annual Summer Reading planning meeting. This meeting (which used to be
held in February) is our first attempt to strategize and brainstorm ideas for
the upcoming summer reading program. Key staff from all the branches attended
and shared ideas for programs, received important deadline dates, and talked
about new ideas that we can incorporate for the next year.
Zydeco dance classes were back by popular demand at Anahuac
on the 8th
. Staff member
LaShebia Haskin held a Basic Zydeco dance class to get Anahuac residents
prepared for Gatorfest. The meeting room
was packed with people learning the basic twists and turns. Another class is scheduled for November.
Homeschool programs are now offered at each branch in the
system. Anahuac’s monthly craft club
allows for students of all ages to get creative with unique crafts. Winnie and Mont Belvieu hold a monthly geography
program featuring a specific country each month. Fun facts and activities are shared with the
group as they travel to different countries each month. Mont Belvieu also held a Homeschool
Orientation for anyone interested in learning more about library resources
available to the public. Providing
programs for homeschoolers has proven to give families in the area different
opportunities in their day-to-day learning.
Nothing we do is curriculum based, but done to supplement the home
education done by parents. Our job as
librarians is to provide the space, the resources, and promote library services
to all groups that come in the library.
County Librarian Valerie Jensen taught a book mending class
for staff members assigned to repair books.
There are several specialized techniques for repairing books with torn
pages, broken spines, and even tattered corners. Special supplies are ordered yearly so that
we can prolong the life of some of our most popular books.
The Chambers County Library in Anahuac and Juanita Hargraves
Memorial Branch in Winnie held Hispanic Heritage Month programs for the public,
which is traditionally celebrated September 15-October 15. Traditional foods, crafts, and music were
enjoyed, while the staff presented facts about the five Latin American countries
that celebrate their independence each year.
Both programs had packed rooms and it was great to see patrons come
together and be educated on heritage and culture.
September 25 - October 1 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.
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
In personnel news, Kellee Traylor joins the CCLS team at the
Mont Belvieu location. Kellee will be
providing front desk relief as well as assisting with programs as needed. Kellee’s first day was on the 28th
so stop by and say hi!
In historical news, A. Lynette Parsons was hired as a part-time
employee to help take on the task of digitizing and cataloging historical items
from the museum and library. The library
acts as a liaison to the Historical Commission and with the museum temporarily
closed, this allows us to bring some order to the items inside the building so
that the public can have access to viewing images, artifacts, and documents
that have been hidden away for many years.
Babygarten at Anahuac
Banned Books display at Mont Belvieu
Kids enjoyed the library booth at Gatorfest!
Storytime at Winnie with Mrs. Yolie
Storytime at Mont Belvieu with special guest Lori Kaiser
Library System – August, 2016
Summer Reading might be over, but the staff didn’t have much
of a break before fall program planning began.
Even with our usual movie days and book club meetings, we managed to
work in a good bit of activity. With the
school year beginning, our change-over from summer visitors to students was
almost unnoticed. Add to that a board
meeting, fundraising events, and interviews for after-school help, and you have
a busy month!
To start the month, County Librarian Valerie Jensen and
Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass attended budget hearings for the
library. With the library’s 2017 budget
already submitted, this hearing allowed us the opportunity to talk in more
detail about our requests. Any questions
the commissioner or judge might have, we could answer at that time. We won’t know the outcome until later next
month. Until then we keep our fingers
On the 4th
, the Friends of the Chambers County
Library System held a fundraiser at Panera Bread in Baytown. Proceeds from sales would go back to the
Friends as long as a flyer was presented at the time of purchase. A small profit was raised, and the money will
go towards their ongoing efforts to raise money for programs and other
events. A second fundraiser was held at
Mont Belvieu the week of the 15th
Scholastic Book Fairs have traditionally been held at school libraries,
but the Friends decided to sponsor a fair at the new Sam and Carmena Goss
Memorial Branch Library. With the sales
totaling $1800, that gave the Friends a profit of $400.
Back-to-School programs are always a huge deal at the
libraries, and this year was no exception.
Anahuac held a water-themed program with inflatables donated by All
Summer Long in Mont Belvieu. Sno-cones were
served by Friends volunteers, and kids enjoyed kiddie kickball, hydro blasters,
waterslides, and more. The Anahuac
Volunteer Fire Department was on hand to cool down the kids, and
representatives with the Texas Children’s Health Plan passed out t-shirts and
other goodies. Winnie held a Black Light
Bash with games in the dark, refreshments, dancing, and more! Staff member Mary Abshire had black light
coloring for the adults, which turned out to be a big hit! Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge came to Mont
Belvieu for their back-to-school program.
Stephanie Martinez was on hand to talk about animals and do a fun craft
with the kids.
On the 9th
, the Library Advisory Board met for its
quarterly meeting. A few items were up
for discussion this month and board members are always eager to voice their
concern and feedback on library policies.
During a member’s term on the board, they become very familiar with the
fundamentals of the library.
GED prep classes are back in session at Anahuac and
Winnie. Registration started the week of
. Classes are held in
Anahuac on Monday and Wednesday, 6-9pm and at Winnie on Tuesdays, 5-7pm. For information on registration, please
contact your local branch.
On the 17th
, the staff at the Juanita Hargraves
Memorial Branch Library held a “Dog Pawty” for patrons and their 4-legged
friends. Even with the rain that day, there
were dogs in costume, a therapy dog named Baxter, a dog photoshoot, and doggy
bag treats. Makenna Castaneda, the
handler for Baxter, was on hand to supervise the thirty-minute reading sessions
with kids who had registered. Baxter was
very well behaved and attentive to all the kids who read.
Master Gardener’s A. Lynette Parsons presented a program at
Mont Belvieu on the 18th
topic was “Get the dirt on dirt”, with tips on soil preparation for fall
And finally, the Children’s programmers met to brainstorm
ideas for the upcoming storytime season.
This year also begins Babygarten, an infant-24 month program for the
tiniest of patrons. Babygarten is held
at each branch along with traditional storytimes for the preschool ages. Our newest kid staffer is Jinnie McLennan
from Mont Belvieu, and she was able to soak up some knowledge from our seasoned
storytime pros from Anahuac and Winnie.
The ladies enjoyed sharing ideas in their effort to provide quality kids’
programs throughout the school year.
Baxter the therapy dog
Back to School splash at Anahuac
Friends members Jean Abshier Forrest and Elaine Byrd
Miss Jinnie at storytime in Mont Belvieu
Library System – July, 2016
Children’s enrollment – up 12%
Total circulation June/July – 56,751
7761 people attended programs at the Chambers County
Summer Reading Program is in the books!
Over 150 thank you letters will soon go out to all the businesses,
individuals, and groups who supported our program this year. During our six week Summer Reading event we
held 72 programs system
wide. Another record for us!
and planning our summer program starts each year in October. We meet as a group early enough to brainstorm
ideas and get a jump on the direction we want to go. We talk about program ideas, themes, rules,
sponsors, supplies, and much more. The
staff turns in their details to the administrative side over the next several
months. This gives them time to plan
with a set schedule, and once summer arrives, the bulk of the hard work has
been done. Once Kickoff Week arrives,
we’re ready to go. We’re already setting
a date for the 2017 planning meeting.
It’s never ending around here!
we are given extra help thanks to the County Commissioners. Nine high school and college students were
employed at the library system this summer.
They provided much needed help at programs, and spent the majority of
their time putting up thousands of returned books! We appreciate the court providing us with
this extra help.
Commissioners’ Court on the 12th, Assistant County Librarian Annie
Vass recognized Joseph Redou with NRG. NRG
has been the main sponsor for the Summer Reading program for the past several
years. Their contribution allows the
library system to continue to provide quality programs to the public.
In July we
welcomed a new staff member at the Chambers County Library in Anahuac. Sue Hawthorne joins the team and will be
responsible for providing much needed front desk help. Sue comes to us from Anahuac Middle School
where she was responsible for overseeing the library there.
finishing touches for the first phase of renovations at Anahuac have been
completed. Public computers have been
relocated, along with moving some shelving around to allow more open space for
Chad Chesmark with readers at Anahuac!
New staff member Sue Hawthorne having fun at the Summer Reading Party
Children's Librarian Michelle Mims ready to serve cupcakes!
Teen Summer Reading Party at Winnie!
Mont Belvieu staff with magician, James Wand!
Chambers County Library System – June, 2016
Summer Reading is in full force at the Chambers County Library System! Our first week is considered “Kickoff Week” where the focus is aimed at registering kids and teens for Summer Reading. Without a doubt, it was a success with over 1,000 kids joining during week one – a 10% increase from 2015. Kickoff Week featured several elected officials and special guests who joined the fun passing out sno-cones, popcorn, and balloons, and had the chance to mingle with kids and their parents. Other activities during kickoff week included hot dogs with the Sheriff, Deputy Dan and the K9 unit, Spirit day with the local school mascots and football players, Zoofari, and even helicopters!
The weeks that followed included programs with Toro, the mascot for the Houston Texans, followed by a magic show with Ronald McDonald.
Teen enrollment was also up with right at 200 teens participating. And we can’t forget our adults who have really been hitting the books this year! Each week the branches hold a weekly drawing for teens and adults who turn in their completed raffle bookmarks with a chance to win some prizes donated by local businesses. Fun and unique programs for the adults included making your own hula hoop, cardio class, walking programs, and nutrition classes.
To kick off summer reading for teens, a county-wide event was held on the 10th at White’s Park. This collaborative effort of the library system’s young adult programmers consisted of dodgeball, water wars, relay races, and other fun games. Over 30 teens turned out for the event. It was great to see teens from across the county come together for some good competition!
In 2015, we decided to change the direction of our program to focus on getting the community more involved in their library. One of the ways we did that was by offering a bigger variety of programs for the teens and adults. We also brought back the game boards for the kids. This let them have some extra responsibility by coloring in spaces each day they read for 20 minutes, and offering incentives along the way. This trend has continued to prove successful and popular with our public.
On the 10th, the Friends of the Chambers County Library System held a special meeting to discuss ongoing fundraising ideas. An upcoming event they have planned is at the Panera Bread in Baytown. On Thursday, August 4th between 4pm and 8pm, a percentage of the proceeds will go towards the Friends. Our Friends are the major underwriters for programs like Summer Reading. You must present a flyer when you go, so pick one up at any of the libraries or print one from our website www.chambers.lib.tx.us.
Local author Tammy Hale held a book signing on the 18th. She was on hand to autograph and sell her debut book, The Burning Kiss. Tammy is an Anahuac native and currently offers her book through Amazon.
We rounded out June with 285 new patron cards and 23,358 people walking through our doors. It’s a busy time at the library and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Library System – May, 2016
Over 11,000 people visited the county libraries in May. A 12% increase from last year. Typically, we’d say May is our slow month,
but with the excitement of summer reading, and the new Sam and Carmena Goss
traffic increasing, we’re quickly seeing Chambers County residents use all of the
libraries in the county more than before.
Children’s story hours went on hiatus the week of May 2
while we printed and distributed over 5,000 flyers to the schools about our
scheduled events for June and July. We
do a huge percentage of our system’s annual circulation during this period, as
the children pour in to our programs and pick out books to fill their summer
hours. Our corporate sponsors increased
by 13% this year showing the continued growing support from the community. This year our plans include kangaroos,
sno-cones, magic, movies, tie dye, videogames, hula hooping, among other
scheduled programs. We’re looking
forward to another fun and successful summer!
GED classes will continue this summer every Monday and
Wednesday at 6pm in Anahuac. Classes
begin June 6. ESL classes ended for the
summer and will resume in the fall with their regular Tuesday and Thursday
May is the time of year 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 asking for
additional online services, an increase for some capital projects, and
additional money in our materials budget.
We always ask for items we need
order to maintain our level of service our patrons have grown used to.
In programming news, County Librarian Valerie Jensen taught
an Introduction to Cheese-making class to the Anahuac book club group on the 10th
. Samples were given, and each person made
their own mozzarella cheese during class.
The staff at the Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch was
overrun with tours from the local school.
Eager teachers and their kiddos scheduled tours throughout the month to
learn the lay-out of the new library.
The kids had the chance to hear about summer reading, see the Children’s
Activity Room, and hear about all the resources available to them throughout
their school year.
The staff at Anahuac held several craft programs for adults and
kids. Adult craft club continues to be a
standing room only program. It’s
definitely the place to be in town on the 2nd
Wednesday of the
month! The last sewing session with Mrs.
Brown was held on the 25th
Her classes will continue in the fall.
Homeschool students were also treated to a summer craft on the 18th
. The homeschool clientele continues to grow,
and making them aware of the resources we have in our library system is of
Anahuac teens had a “Just Dance” program on the 5th
. The newest version of the game was generously
purchased by some of our Friends members.
Teens at Mont Belvieu enjoyed a game day with board games and
Cheese-making with Valerie Jensen
Children's Librarian Jinnie McLennan at Mont Belvieu
Craft club at Anahuac
Tours with Barbers Hill ISD kids with Kara DeLaughter
Last storytime at Winnie
Sewing 101 with Mrs. Brown
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