Monday, December 03, 2007
The Bigger Picture
The Houston Area Library System, made up of the area of Texas reaching from Center down to Bay City and from the Louisiana border out to Columbus, is the largest of the 10 library systems in the state, both by population numbers and by number of libraries. HALS is an administrative unit of the Texas State Library and Archives, and the membership within HALS is made up of both library staff members and “lay representatives”. Theresa C. Miller of Anahuac, and Lise Olesen of Beach City (alternate) are serving in this capacity currently. The Lay Reps are the only ones with voting privileges in the System; library staff members serve in advisory capacities.
In October, Lise attended the Fall System meeting with the County Librarian in New Caney, a time when reports are presented by State Library personnel. In November, she went with Valerie Jensen and Ms. Miller to Lumberton for the annual “Geographic” meeting, where the system budget and long range plans were discussed. Jensen has been appointed to the Continuing Education Committee for HALS, and will be a workshop presenter this spring on the Young Adult Summer Reading Program. The County Librarian has served on several committees since moving into the HALS System 24 years ago, and serves as a consulting librarian for other member libraries. Chambers County is well represented in HALS, and our influence is of long standing. Ms. Miller has been HALS Lay Rep for Chambers County for over 30 years, and has served on a variety of committees.
Another HALS-related organization is the Southeast Texas Small Library Communities group. Chambers County is the largest member of this coalition, which was conceived back in 1995 as a way for the smaller members of HALS to share ideas and concerns about running library operations with few staff members, libraries with no professionals, and libraries in very small communities. The group met at Orange this month, and Jensen and Parsons attended. Chambers County will host the next meeting in the spring.
The Library Advisory Board met on the 13th, and greeted new board member Lisa Haskins with quite an introduction to their work. The long range plan for 2008-2010 was finalized, a policy was discussed on patrons getting additional cards, another policy was changed on costs for printing faxes, and a “Request for Reconsideration of Materials” issue was considered and a decision recommended to the County Librarian. President Lee Ashworth led the group for his final appearance on the Board; he has served as a board member for 9 years with distinction.
The loss of our children’s library technician at Anahuac was a second blow there this year, coming on the heels of the loss of our 20 hpw Senior Texans Employment Program person. We have been advertising to get a new children’ person, and hope that the successful candidate will be able to work some of the STEP person’s hours. We had relied on this federally-funded position heavily. Winnie staff member Cheryl Attaway is helping Anahuac by traveling over each week to keep the Story Hours going until a replacement is found.