Monday, February 01, 2010


E-rates, New Staff, New Hours

The federal “e-rate” program has been in operation since 1998, and with the exception of one year, Chambers County has received this reimbursement on Internet access and phone lines to our libraries. This is done because we provide access to the Internet for the public, and use our phone lines for assisting the public and for faxing. The e-rate program is funded through a small charge on every phone bill in the country. Those few cents each month have provided a wealth of good to the general public.

It does, however, take a lot of paperwork at our end! We filed the first form in November, then the 2nd one this past month. Once we get the award, we then file other forms indicating receipt of service, etc., etc. This year, our proposed reimbursement, or discount for services, totals $5,058.66, which is down considerably from last year’s $9,422.14. This is due to the fact that we at the library no longer get invoices showing our access costs. It’s still quite a savings, and we’re truly grateful. The total awarded to Chambers County from 1998 to date is $141,529.14.

We’ve had quite a shake-up of personnel at the library system beginning this month. After a lot of interviews, we filled the Branch Librarian position at Winnie with a gent named Scott Crawford, who by our good luck, moved to the area for a job his wife took in Beaumont. He’s worked in the St. Louis Public Library system, and did a little time with Dell, and is very interested in being active in the community.

Aquilia De la Cruz has moved up the ranks to Branch Librarian at Anahuac. She’s got a great crew in place to ease her transition to management, and so far, she’s handled everything we’ve thrown at her with a smile and a job well done. Valerie Jensen, our Assistant County Librarian, had been handling that job as well as the tasks in her Assistant job, and now has the luxury of alternating with me on our weekly branch site visits. She’s picking up all the administrative details that she hasn’t had time to work on, but of course, she also has her eye on everyone’s projects at each of the libraries. That’s what we administrative types are for, after all – to keep our fingers on the pulse of the library.

And we’ve finally got the West Chambers Branch open on Saturdays! It’s actually going to take a while just to get the public used to the idea, but those who have heard about it have tested the waters a bit. It’s a huge change for our west side staff, and we altered the hours on the weekdays to compensate for the Saturday schedule. All three libraries are now open 49 hours per week, which may make scheduling our staff a bit easier. Those 11 hour days can be a bit overwhelming, so we’ve moved all of them back to 9 hour days. Each library is still open two nights per week till 7:00 p.m., and with all open on Saturdays from 9:00-1:00, we feel that we’re doing a good job of serving the population when they can get here.

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