Thursday, October 01, 2009


What a difference a year makes

Well, this time last year, we were in major cleanup from Ike. Our September 08 total circulation was 9,958, which reflected the closings at Winnie and Anahuac after the storm, and Mont Belvieu’s valiant attempt to keep things normal. We look considerably more “normal” this year, with a total circulation of 19,034. Blessings come in all sizes, and we feel pretty blessed this year!

Our activity schedule picked up again with the start of the new school year. August was much quieter, but now our pre-school story times have generated activity, staff members are visiting the schools and day cares in our outreach efforts, and I even got to talk at an after-hours event. We also hosted an author signing at the West Chambers Branch on the 25th, which was our 3rd such activity this year. GatorFest found staff members and volunteers at the library table in the Education Tent, passing out information, displaying our wares, and doing a little fund raising for the Friends of CCLS.

Our GED and ESL (English as a Second Language) classes started again, thanks to renewed funding from Anahuac ISD; both classes meet on Mondays and Thursdays, and we had to do some major space allocation to work them into available spots. The S.T.A.B. (Student Teen Advisory Board) and the Anime Club began again this month, with planning for October’s Teen Read Week a priority.

Banned Books Week was celebrated, so to speak, at all three libraries, with very interesting, and different, displays at each site. The displays tended to generate discussion by the patrons with the staff, some of it not quite what we might have expected! But that, of course, is part of the whole effort behind Banned Books Week – to get folks talking about censorship, the books that have been challenged, and to get them thinking about their own opinions of same.

CCLS hosted a Houston Area Library System workshop on the 18th, entitled, “Para Los Ninos = For the Children”, which of course, featured story time activities for all pre-school and elementary age children, and included tips on bilingual programming. We had 3 staff members scheduled to attend, but two had to miss due to family issues.

And that brings us to the upcoming flu season. It always happens: parent gets call from school to come get a sick child; parent picks child up from school, and somewhere between school and home, parent and child visit the library to pick up goodies to entertain the child for the duration. While we love the business, we have had far too many occasions where we have headed for the Lysol after the little ones have germed up the general area, alarming both staff and other patrons!
With the more serious threat of the new flu strain, we have posted signs asking folks to take all this into consideration, and we have instructed the staff that they are within their rights to ask patrons to remove themselves and any ill children from the premises. With our small staff, losing even one person to illness can be fraught with problems. In the last two weeks, for example, I have left one library mid-morning to assist at another branch, since we had too many folks out ill. It’s much more prudent to have a sick patron leave, than to have them infect our overworked staff. We don’t want to have to close down a whole building due to lack of warm bodies to work. So everyone, take your vitamins, and if you sniffle, stay home!

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