Wednesday, April 04, 2007


With Friends Like These...

The annual Friends of the Chambers County Library System meeting was held this month, and true to form, those attending generated a lot of discussion about the best ways to support the library system. The impact that the Friends have on the three libraries is incredible. Funds they raise through dues, books sales, donations, and miscellaneous projects provide an amazing variety of items for library programming and for permanent additions to the County inventory. This year, for example, they voted to buy a computer desk, a display rack, three chairs, an audio-visual cart, and wall decals, in addition to their usual underwriting of the Summer Reading Club. They actually have voted to do more, if they can raise the cash. Every single one of these items is provided to make the libraries better for the public, and the fact that volunteers deliver it all to a government agency proves how much they believe in the library system mission. We have been so very fortunate over the years to have this grassroots support, and it continues to grow. Our Corporate memberships are nearly doubled this year.

The Annual Meeting was followed by our first effort at a county-wide book discussion project, known nationally as “One Book, One Community.” The group that assembled to talk about the book was not as large as the circulation figures showed for the title, but the event was lively, and, surprisingly enough, people wanted to try again. Since we had later comments from folks who didn’t attend, we are deciding what to read next. We’re looking for something a little more “mainstream” this time.

National Read Across America Day was celebrated at all three libraries with our new Cat in the Hat Costume (courtesy again of the Friends of CCLS). Each site had all manner of fun, with cakes, photographs, and of course, Dr. Seuss stories. Our children’s programs continue to be innovative and successful, and our kids’ programming team amazes me with their energy and their ideas. We are expanding their resource materials this year with rhythm bands, jump ropes, flannelboards, and music.

“Teen Tech Week” was a national event observed at Anahuac on March 9. The local crowd assembled after hours at the library to work through all the new technology issues, and of course, to use the new technology to the max! The fast pace of change with cell phones, iPods, game software, and the many interactive game and social sites on the Internet means that everyone can use assistance in keeping up-to-date, and who better to ask than the teens, who always ask each other first. Anyway, it was another success for Young Adult programming at the library.

Kathy Fielding and I attended the latest Small Community Libraries meeting in Nederland, where we heard gloomy updates about the state of the financial largess that we receive annually from the Houston Area Library System (HALS). We are not very confident about the outcome of the State Library plan that the Legislature will have to fund, and we expect to lose at least $10,000.00 this next year that came to us from various HALS concerns. This will mean about a 20% cut in our books, DVDs, and a new computer which we have received each year.

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