Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Hot Fun in the Summertime

As happens every July at the library system, the talk is always about the Summer Reading Program and all of the hooplah surrounding it. This year is no exception, and our summary of events brings to the fore how hard the staff work to make the libraries a great place to be, and how our residents respond to the effort.
Our Adult Summer Reading Club is pretty low-key, with raffle tickets for books read. Even so, 86 cardholders registered, and read 481 books. Winners of our gift card prizes, underwritten by the Friends of CCLS, were Joyce Moon, Carolyn Caldwell, Melodee Schaller, Carolyn Anderson, and W.H. Taylor.
The Young Adult program this year had its own name and theme: “Game On!” with the different library branches featuring raffles, game boards, and programs. There were 147 registered readers, and they read the equivalent of 1,572 books. Anahuac’s readers counted reading time, not physical books, so their time was translated into books read. Winnie held its first Young Adult program, and the photos of kids on their stomachs on skateboards rolling down the aisles are priceless. 151 teens attended programs geared to their age group.
And last but certainly not least, our youngsters, from pre-school through the first few years of grade school, had an even 700 signed up, with 10,036 books read. During the course of the six-week program, our programs had 1,187 attendees, and they were thrilled with zoo animals, clowns with balloons, a troubadour, a waterslide party, some wild and crazy “field events,” a few movies with popcorn, and presentations from several of the County’s Historical Commission members, who enchanted the children with their tales of times gone by. All in all, our celebration of the County’s Sesquicentennial, along with the 50th birthday of the Texas Reading Club, was a rousing success.
And while everyone scrambled to make July great for our customers, other events were occurring. Valerie Jensen, Assistant County Librarian, attended “Annual Assembly,” which is an event in Austin for all the state committee members who work on projects for the year. Valerie is heavily involved with the Young Adult efforts throughout the state, of course, and her groups worked on the teen summer reading projects for 2009.
The Friends of the Library had the third of their “triple header” book sales in July, coinciding with the end of summer reading at the Mont Belvieu branch. We’re awfully grateful that the County provides gents to haul our sale books to the different branches for these sales; the funds raised go towards making these programs we keep talking about so successful.
I met with the AISD Superintendent twice this month; she introduced me to the new district librarian, who in turn, was introduced to our library system and its services. We also had a conference call event to discuss federal funding for our GED classes. AISD provides the funds and we provide the class space and teacher.
Kathy Fielding and Kim Hart made a presentation to a Vacation Bible School group on the west side on the 9th. The branch heads and children’s library technicians submitted (!) to interviews on Monday the 28th, and on the 29th, assembled for a workshop on funding techniques. This workshop was paid for with a staff development grant from the Houston Area Library System, and focused on helping staff to find underwriters for our many programs.
Bringing the month to a busy close, the library system presented Homeschool Orientation workshops to parent/teachers and their children. One was held at the West Branch on the 30th, and another at Anahuac on the 31st. These successful events are now held annually, since our homeschool clientele continues to grow, and since making them aware of the resources we have in our library system is of prime importance.

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