Wednesday, May 06, 2009


New Statistics, More Training, All Good!

Chambers County Library System – April, 2009

New services, as well as traditional services and programs, make up our monthly statistical reports that we send to our Library Advisory Board, to the County Commissioners, and to the staff. At the end of each fiscal year, we must compile all these monthly reports and send the information to the Texas State Library. As long as the County meets the local funding requirements for our assigned population, and our collection is the appropriate size per capita, we are certified for another year. This, in turn, allows us to receive additional funding from state and federal sources.

So this month, we began to incorporate some additional statistics. Our two newest services, OverDrive and Ancestry, are online services. OverDrive provides downloadable audiobooks, ebooks, and videos to our patrons at home; Ancestry is a genealogy and history database that is in-library use only. The County provided for these databases this year in the budget; they are the first two we have had that were not supplied through funding by the Texas State Legislature. Those “TexShare” online databases, along with OverDrive and Ancestry logons, make up one new statistic on our report, titled “Database Logons.”

The other “new” statistic is for Interlibrary Loans. This service is provided to our patrons free of charge, and we borrow almost 1500 items a year from libraries throughout the country. The State Library asked us to begin reporting the total loan figure in our annual report, so now we’ve added that to our spreadsheet.

Other items of interest occurred in April that don’t necessarily get reflected in our statistics. The Texas Library Association Conference was held in Houston the first week of April. Thanks to Hurricane Ike, we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to send anyone, since the County had asked to curb travel expenses. As luck (and very impressive applications) would have it, Aquilia De la Cruz, LaShebia Haskin, and Melba Gmelch all received stipends from District VIII of TLA to attend one-day sessions. Valerie Jensen, Assistant County Librarian, was applauded high and low at the conference for her invaluable contributions to the Texas Teens Read program (summer reading) which is just getting started, and for the incredible success of TLA’s TT4L (Texas Teens for Libraries) Day on Thursday of the conference. Valerie basically coordinated the event, and over 400 happy audience members packed the programs provided.

Melba Gmelch and Mary Abshire began their steps toward a Small Library Management certificate with their attendance at their first session, held in Fort Bend County. This is an excellent state-sponsored program that allows “off the street” library staff to learn how to administer and run the local libraries well. Even if you aren’t the Branch Librarian, it’s an eye-opener and helps immensely to understand what is needed to make things work. Their first session was on Collection Development, and they are already looking at our shelves with different eyes!

The 4th Nearly Annual Edible Book Festival was held as always on April 1, and 13 brave souls entered the competition. Two young women from AISD High School carried off the honors this year with a creation based on the book, “Beautiful American Vegetable Gardens.” This program is annually provided under the aegis of the Friends of CCLS. They finished off the month with an Anahuac-based Gently Used Book Sale; proceeds from these events help to underwrite library programs and services.

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