Friday, August 18, 2006


July at the Library

Once again, our Summer Reading Program events made library system sites bustle with activity and reading. Our final figures for the reading program, and the ancillary adult and teen programs, are good, good, good: 551 children read 8,523 books; 45 adults and 96 teens entered our raffles, reading a combined total of 903 books in the 6 week period.
As for programs, we had 715 attendees, children and adult, at the children’s events, and another 96 at the young adult programs held at Anahuac.

At the end of the month, we received a wonderful surprise. Due to our high circulation on a Spanish language DVD grant from the Houston Area Library System, we were awarded funds for additional DVDs. In the space of 4 hours, we literally scraped for every exercise, gardening, college-bound reading title, children’s learning materials, Hallmark Hall of Fame, and other feature film titles that we had desired to order. Our wish list was huge, but this bonus grant took it all. We are so excited at this unexpected largesse, and patrons will soon have the benefit of it all. Titles are arriving daily, and will be gracing our branch shelves as soon as we can process them.

Our growing Young Adult collections at the three libraries have resulted in a burst of reserve requests by teenagers! The Graphic Novel collections are a relatively small group right now, and they are marching back and forth as the teens learn about them and ask for them. The regular fiction titles are also getting hard use, and the new YA area at the Winnie library is starting to draw the teens to that corner, just as it did once the Mont Belvieu and Anahuac corners were established.

Thanks to immense effort by summer helpers at Anahuac, over 500 packets were prepared for the three schools systems and distributed in July. All the teachers received information on long-term “Teacher” cards, and learned about the free online databases we carry, funded by the State Library. The packets had die-cuts of a pirate, a panther paw, or an eagle, part of the die-cut equipment funded by the Friends of the Library. I can testify that gluing those die-cuts on the bags took patience and digital dexterity!

We ended July with a flurry of staff changes, as we prepared for the retirement of Branch Head Susie Davis in August. We have moved people branch-to-branch frequently over the years, and this cross-training has proved invaluable, but our current situation necessitated some more structured coverage of positions at the branches and in Technical Services. We also hired a new part-time Children’s Librarian at Mont Belvieu, and are in the process of interviewing for one at Anahuac. Once they are in place, our super-duper Children’s expert, Rhonda LeBlanc, will work them over and train them for developing dynamite programs to equal hers at Winnie.

One more interesting fact: the percentage of circulation for each branch, listed below. We frequently talk about the West Side growth, and when school is in session, their usage approaches 40% for the system. During the non-school vacations, however, the other two branches make great strides, and during the Summer Reading program, Winnie rules!

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