Monday, July 02, 2007


Katy, bar the door!

All year long, the staff members of the library system perform their jobs with professional attitudes and commitment to the idea of library service. During the year, they plan the activities that will take place during June and July, our busiest time, when the Texas Reading Club is held across the state.

We have had good years before, and Winnie has always been particularly strong in summer reading, but this year it has been a case of “Katy, bar the door!” Each library in the system has experienced a wonderful turnout every week. Our program attendance this month alone has totaled over 1,000; we have had at least one, and frequently three days every week where we have checked out over 1,000 items. Every staff member is grateful that planning was so meticulous, because there have been very few moments when we have the chance to work on anything but summer reading. With three weeks to go (the last day is July 14, followed by parties the next week), we know we’re on the downhill slide. It’s been wonderful and terrifying at the same time, but everyone should be proud of the staff, and excited that the children, teens, and adults are all getting so much out of their public libraries in Chambers County.

One unfortunate issue we have dealt with this month has been the closing of the Anahuac library for 4 hours each week during June and July. The loss of the evening hours has been a burden on some of our adults, even though we have been open still on Saturday mornings. We will be conducting interviews for replacement staff as soon as summer reading is over, and intend to be back open on Monday and Thursday evenings beginning August 1. Thirty-two hours doesn’t seem like much over 8 weeks, but trying to book staff members through an 11-hour day gets complicated when you don’t have a full complement to work with. And we truly have needed all hands during the day, when our summer readers are crowding the building.

We have been blessed this month at the Winnie library with over 100 hours of volunteer service. A local art teacher has donated a considerable portion of that time to the creation of props for our pirate theme there, and is completing a Mother Goose mural for the Story Hour room. The staff are so excited about the mural that they’ve been dragging toddlers back there just to see the work in progress! It really is clever, and we have already begun advertising our pre-school storytimes that begin in September to the summer crowd.

The Brown Foundation of Houston presented the library with a grant in memory of Anahuac resident Christine Leggett in May. This grant, along with the many donations received from individuals who knew and loved this regular library user, allowed us to purchase a huge number of large print books to add to our collection. Large print is a wonderful alternative when the light isn’t good or the eyes aren’t so hot, and our large print reader numbers are growing each month. We were also able to purchase a piece of equipment that will allow us to read, scan, and store microfilm records via computer, an item that was not financed in last year’s budget. We’re thrilled that Mrs. Leggett’s friends have seen fit to grace the library with these memorials.

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