Thursday, June 02, 2011


Gearing up for Summer!

Library Staff member Nikki Beltram teaching Excel to Chambers County employees.

The month of May begins and ends with staff members getting all the details ready for the annual Summer Reading Program which kicks off June 6th. This year, thanks to staff increasing promotions to the teens, we printed right at 13,000 flyers to be distributed to the schools, day cares, and other local businesses. Some of the staff went to the schools to talk to the kids and teens about upcoming events this summer. Summer Reading planning starts in January and even down to the wire we’re receiving reading incentives (coupons, services from corporate underwriters), and we just found out we received a $1000 grant from Wal-Mart for Summer Reading.

The prizes, program preparations, wall displays, and more all provide staff with a lot of prep work for our biggest event of the year. This year the decorations are exceptional at all the libraries with displays showing off the summer reading theme, “Dig up a good book” complete with 3-D trees, dinosaurs and of course displays of our sponsors and donors. Kathy Fielding, the library’s webmaster has also added Summer Reading information to the website which always increases the traffic – in May it generally goes up but this year we’re up 55% from 2010!

Staff members, Melba Gmelch and Nikki Beltram used their computer expertise by teaching Microsoft Publisher and Excel classes to county employees. Classes were on a first come basis and the day the announcement was sent out, all the slots were filled the next day. I received several comments from employees who attended mostly wanting longer classes to learn more! We’ve definitely discovered a need that benefits the county and will continue to offer more classes in August.

The Winnie branch offered 2 teen after hours programs in May. Staff member Christi Silcox has developed quite a following with the teens and saw an opportunity to get them involved in the library. One of their events was a gaming night and the following week they held a scary movie event. All the teens had a great time and are looking forward to increasing the teen activity at the Winnie library.
Speaking of teens, the Anahuac branch held its 5th annual Ana-Con on the 21st. Ana-Con is a mini anime convention for teens in the area and this year the attendance did not disappoint. With close to 100 teens (and several adults) everyone had a wonderful time participating in drawing contests, dance panels, rice eating contests and Ramune drinking contests. Several people came dressed in their best character outfits to show off during the “Cosplay” portion of the day. The Anahuac Anime club was started in 2006 and the charter members from 5 years ago still have a hand in giving the young kids advice – even from their dorm rooms at Baylor. It’s great to see how much the library has an impact on young people.

Staff members Aquilia De la Cruz and Missy Parham are currently enrolled in the online portion of the Small Library Management program. Aquilia has almost completed the program and Missy is just starting off. The Small Library Management program is held by the State Library to provide our “off the street” librarians with some of the background and basic skills that allow them to see the bigger picture of the library world outside their branch walls.

Another online service has just been started at the library. Freegal music is free and legal music available for download from the library’s public computers. Freegal offers thousands of songs and each Chambers County Library System cardholder is allowed 3 songs each week. After a song is downloaded it becomes theirs to keep. We’re anticipating this to be a very popular addition to the library.

And finally, a huge thank you goes out to Building Maintenance for starting work on new tiled floors for the Anahuac meeting room and Technical Services department. We’re regrettably putting a halt to their work due to Summer Reading but we’ve got them down to start back up at the end of July and we’ll be ready! Thanks to our summer helpers who will still be around, we’ll be able to use them for a lot of the boxing up and moving the lighter stuff. The floors are beautiful and we’ve received some very positive comments from our patrons who attend library programs in the meeting room or people who hold their monthly meetings there. We’re ready for June!

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