Tuesday, January 03, 2012


What is your library worth to you?

The library continues to be one of the biggest attractions in Chambers County and we have the numbers to prove it. Here’s a little snapshot of how Chambers County taxpayers used their county libraries in 2011:

Total circulation: 232,818
Program attendance: 12,337
Walk-in traffic: 163,988
Computer logons (not including wireless): 27,800
Remote logons (databases, website and online services): 64,445

We know how much the public values the services and resources provided by the county libraries, but just how much are those services worth if you had to pay out of pocket? In 2011 it was over $4.6 million dollars. That’s much more than the $18.66 paid by each Chambers County resident for library services. Our year long efforts pay off each year with the hard work and dedication provided by library staff. And for that, Chambers County should be proud. 2011 was another record breaking year with increases all around in circulation, computer use, program attendance and more.

The month of December started with a present to our patrons. December was “Fine Free Month” which allowed patrons to return overdue items and have their fines waived. Many people took advantage of this and were happy to have their account cleared.

The Friends of Chambers County Library System held their annual December book sale at the Anahuac branch. A total of $695 was raised and profits will go towards library services and programs. The Friends sell books, movies and magazines for less than $1 each. Not a bad profit for a few days work.

A couple of Friends members along with the County Librarian met with members of Commissioners Court and Mont Belvieu City Council to discuss a possible partnership with the expansion of the West Chambers Branch Library. Officials gathered to watch the weekly story hours and then adjourned for lunch sponsored by the Friends of CCLS. Great things are in the works for 2012!

County Librarian, Valerie Jensen attended the quarterly Lee College Educational Opportunity Advisory board meeting at the Workforce Solutions office in Baytown. Area librarians meet with Lee College instructors and staff to discuss the educational needs of people in the community. Currently, the Chambers County Library in Anahuac holds GED prep classes for students who need assistance in taking the exam. The Lee College EOC has provided scholarships for area students to pay for the GED test when they are unable to get the funds to pay themselves.

December was also full of programs for all ages. On the 10th, the Anahuac Anime Club along with staff member LaShebia Haskin planned and organized an Anime Winter Ball for teens interested in Japanese Anime and Manga. The “Ball” was held at the West Chambers Branch in the courtroom(due to space issues in the library) and was well attended by people from all over the county as well as Dayton and Baytown. Teens had a great time in costume, playing games, competing in contests and raising money for their yearly Ana-Con convention in the spring.

Branch Librarian Aquilia De la Cruz held a series of Piñata making workshops throughout December. A group of dedicated ladies gathered weekly to work on their piñatas and the end results were stunning. Special thanks to Maria Uribe for sharing her ideas and talent with everyone who attended the programs.

The West Chambers Branch held an author signing with local historians Jean Epperson and Kendon Clark. A steady stream of patrons came to purchase their books and get them autographed. Collectively, Jean and Kendon have written over 5 books about local legends and wildlife in Chambers County.

Children’s programs in December mean Christmas, and along with singing, stories, and crafts, the jolly old St. Nick showed up a couple of times as well. Our programs are geared for the elementary school-aged crowd, while our weekly story hours focus on pre-schoolers. The kids had a great time this year. Kudos to all of our children’s programming people for their work in planning the programs.

Ending out the year was a donation from the Friends of Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. This donation is used to purchase children’s books on ecology, estuaries, marshes and related topics. It’s important to add to these subject areas of the collection to continue to teach the elementary and middle school students about nature and wildlife as it applies to them locally.

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