Thursday, April 05, 2012


National Read Across America Day was celebrated at all three libraries in March. Each branch had a visit from the one and only Cat in the Hat along with all sorts of fun with games, cakes, photographs, and of course, Dr. Seuss stories. Branch Librarian Missy Parham was asked by Barbers Hill ISD to be their resident Cat in the Hat, which allowed her to promote the library’s services as well as outreach to over 500 children. Our children’s programs continue to be innovative and successful, and our kids’ programming team amazes me with their
energy and their ideas.

March is also prime time the library kicks it in high gear to plan and organize our busiest and most successful event of the year, the Summer Reading Program. We’ve already got our sponsors, programs and details lined out and we’re very excited about the fun activities planned for the kids and teens. Be on the lookout soon for details!

Programs this month included field trips from the local schools, Met Head Start, Kindle download classes, Spring Break “tween” program at Anahuac, movie nights, Writers’ groups, Teen Advisory Boards, and much more! The most popular program this month seemed to be the Hunger Games field trip taken by the teens at Mont Belvieu and Winnie. Mont Belvieu had 30 teens and 7 staff attend, while Winnie had a Hunger Games pre-party before their trip with 13 teens. This is one of the most popular book to movie releases since the Harry Potter or the Twilight trilogy.

The Friends of the Library also hosted another book sale at Anahuac last month. Right on the heels of the book sale in Winnie, Anahuac took in a little over $400 in proceeds. All money raised goes towards programs such as Summer Reading and other items needed throughout the year. We never get tired of saying how proud we are of the grassroots support over the years, and our membership this year is continually growing beyond our expectations. Thank you, Friends.

On a more serious note, we said goodbye to a very well respected employee last month. Melba Gmelch has been with the Library System for 4 years and brought a wealth of talent to our team that will certainly be missed. Melba started one of the longest running programs in the Library’s history with the Book Club and we’re happy to announce it will continue with her replacement, Lesa Boutin. Lesa has worked for the Library System before and is a natural with libraries. She
previously worked as the Middle School Librarian at Anahuac ISD until she became employed at the West Chambers Branch back in 2006. Her departure from there took her to join the Writers in the Schools program where she continues to work part-time teaching creative writing skills to upper elementary age kids. Lesa is an author of several juvenile fiction books and a founding member of the Writers’ Interest Group (WIG) in Mont Belvieu. We look forward to her ideas and enthusiasm as part of the CCLS team!

Staff member, Nikki Beltram was the recipient of a Public Library Division scholarship to attend the Texas Library Association (TLA) conference in April. Nikki, along with several other staff members wrote applications for this stipend. There was a lot of competition and impressive applications but Nikki was one of the select few recipients and we’re proud of her accomplishment. The Texas Library Association’s annual conference is held in Houston this year and the County Librarian is planning on shuttling each and every staff member to take part in this event. TLA attracts thousands of librarians across the state to take part in professional development programs as well as an opportunity to network and sharing ideas with other librarians. Chambers County has been recognized at TLA for various accomplishments through the years and continues to be looked at as an example to the smaller libraries in the area.

The staff often seeks out continuing education opportunities simply because they love what they do. It’s great to see staff wanting to go above and beyond the scope of their position just to provide the best quality library service possible to the public.

And to prove that fact, the staff provided 58 programs to 1,790 kids, teens and adults in the month of March alone. Busy? Indeed. And we love it.

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