Tuesday, August 10, 2010


A Summer Pastiche

Chambers County Library System – July, 2010

June was a delightful month, weather-wise, for our Summer Reading events. However, the last few days of June, and on into July, was a bit contrary. Several programs, including our Southwest Dairy Farmers Mobile Dairy Classroom at Anahuac, and our infamous waterslides at Winnie and Mont Belvieu fell victim to the rain. Rescheduling such long-anticipated activities several times and getting the word out to the public can be nerve wracking, and also can impact the success of our programs.

But even with those unanticipated issues, our summer events proved once again that, if you have excellent and inspired staff members, good promotions, and a lot of support from financial underwriters, you can draw your communities to the library. Does the number 22,603 sound large? That’s the total number of books read by elementary children in our program – in 6 weeks. Does the fact that 2,653 people bothered to attend our children’s events indicate that there is a continual need and desire for something to do in Chambers County in the summer – especially when it’s free of charge and safe to bring children? If these numbers look good to you – and they do to us – then you know how important to the quality of life the Chambers County Library System is to our residents.

Speaking of financial underwriters, the Friends of CCLS held another of their book sales in July. This one is the annual marathon at Mont Belvieu, held over the last few days of summer reading. Thanks to assistance from the county trustee crew, we were able to haul a lowboy full of books to the west side, where they were joined by a storeroom full of donations already at the West Chambers Branch. The public didn’t disappoint us – they came in droves, and helped fund continuing program efforts for the libraries throughout the calendar year.

The Universal Services group sent word that we have been awarded yet another e-rate discount for the year beginning July 1, 2010. This program has been in place since 1998, and we have received funds or discounts every year but one. In the beginning, huge grants were awarded to help us to set up the infrastructure for public access to the Internet; with the changes that the County’s IT Department has made over the years, the library system is no longer the channel for the other departments, and our awards have shrunk accordingly. This year’s discount is for $2,114.69, which will appear in reduced telephone bills from Windstream. It brings our total award over those 13 years to $143,643.83.

The Houston Area Library System Continuing Education Committee met this month at Anahuac; Valerie Jensen, Assistant County Librarian, hosted the group of which she is a member. She also traveled to Houston at the end of the month to assist with interviews for a technology consultant for HALS. Interviews were on her mind as well in Chambers County; several library system positions opened up in the past few weeks, and she and our branch librarians have been quite busy sorting through applications, setting up interviews, and putting candidates through their paces.

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