Monday, September 10, 2012


August @ the Library

Chambers County Library System – August, 2012

The Library staff didn’t have too much of a break after Summer Reading this year.  Even without our usual story hours and computer classes, we managed to work in a good amount of activity, and with the schools starting up, our changeover from summer visitors to students was almost unnoticed. 

We had a couple of big programs that took place last month.  First up was our Homeschool Orientation program.  We continue to see increases in this particular group of library users.  We had 19 adults and 39 kids attend and all were either new to the homeschool scene or have been homeschooling for years.  Several staff members walked guests through the many services, both on site and online, that the library system offers to all its patrons, while other staff members entertained the kids with crafts, movies and other activities.  Lunch was generously provided by the Friends of CCLS. 

The Chambers County Library in Anahuac held a “Back to School Bash” the last week of August for kids of all ages.  The program was well attended by 38 kids and 8 adults.  The library was bustling with activities, movies, crafts and even some parents who joined in for the fun.  Special thanks go to Tanya Wead and Stacey Braxton for providing supplies for the program. 

Other programs that took place in August included, Extreme Couponing, Computer classes, Movie nights, Genealogy groups, Writers’ Groups, and more. 

On the 14th, the Library Advisory Board met and approved the updates to several policies.  The Board is appointed by Commissioners’ Court and serves as a liaison between the library and its citizens.  Their input is always great to hear and we are lucky to have such a great group of Board members to promote the library and its mission. 

Earlier in the month the County Librarian led a cataloging training class for several of our staff members who have the job of entering new paperback materials into the library’s database.   With each branch receiving 20-30 new paperbacks monthly, the need for some entry level staff training on this topic was a must.  Cataloging is a very tedious process and the majority of it takes place in Tech Services, but in order to meet the demands of our patrons we’re hoping this training will cut down on the wait time for the public.

In personnel news, the Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie has a new face in the children’s department.  Angie Broussard joined the team as the new Children’s Librarian.  She has demonstrated her ability above and beyond and we’re thrilled to have her on board.  Winnie also gained a new Library Page with Dawn Davis.  She’s a graduate of East Chambers and attends Lamar University while working part-time at the library. 

And finally, the “summer helper” program is sponsored over and above the library system budget; it is an extra gift from the Commissioners’ Court and Judge Sylvia.  The salaries provided to these young people help them greatly in our area, where jobs are scarce, and it is a bonus of $14,670.00 to the library system! 
Homeschool parents listen close to the great information provided by the staff!

Cecy De la Cruz shoots her bow & arrow during the Back to School Bash!


July @ the Library!

Chambers County Library System – July, 2012

Another successful Summer Reading Program ended with a week of party events in mid-July.  This year’s program was a huge success with 28,870 books read in June and July as part of the Texas Reading Club, held at the three Chambers County libraries.  The annual program, which is open to children from the ages of pre-k through 5th grade ended in mid-July, with 1,100 children registering.  A total of 3,455 adults, teens, and children attended 40 programs held during this time.  Over 200 adults and teens enrolled in their own reading events, and read a total of 2,157 books. 

The Friends of CCLS also took advantage of the summer crowds by holding a 3-day Gently Used Book Sale at Anahuac and Mont Belvieu.  It was a huge success, and funds raised will be used to purchase additional programming supplies and equipment for the libraries.  The Friends also met during a special called meeting on the 11th to discuss ongoing plans for the Mont Belvieu library fundraising campaign.  Good things are in the works for the West Chambers Branch! 

At the beginning of the month, former classroom teacher turned professional chef Lori Hinze held a Cooking Program at each of the libraries.  Her “Book Cook” program incorporates skills such as literacy, math, and nutrition into her presentation.  Kids became chefs for the day while learning some cooking techniques they could use at home.  We had an overwhelming response and many requests to have her back.  I have a feeling we’ll be seeing Lori in the Fall!

The Anahuac staff continued on with more programs even after summer was finished.  Branch Librarian Aquilia De la Cruz and Teen Librarian LaShebia Haskin combined their talents to present a “Walk on Water” program where the “tween” age kids created sandals made from recycled 2-liter bottles.  The results were amazing and the kids had a blast. 

And a big thank you to everyone involved in helping the library get a permanent vehicle.  We haul over 1,000 items each month between the 3 libraries and it does quite a bit of wear and tear on our personal vehicles when you’re hauling such items as book sale books, equipment, furniture, sno-cone machines, DVDs, buckets of mail, etc.  The County Librarian makes weekly trips to the branches and we never have less than 5 big boxes to deliver.  It’s also used for outreach programs when our children and teen staff go to the local schools and day cares.  

A budget hearing was held at the end of July for the library.  Each year we make notes on items or services we would like to add for the citizens of the county.  This year we’re asking for language and test prep databases, lease printers, additional programming money, and a couple of items we feel is warranted to continue the level of service our patrons have grown used to. We find out in a couple of months what we get, so we anxiously await until then. 
End of Summer Reading Party at Anahuac

Lori Hinze with Cook, Learn, Grown during her Book Cook program

Ronald McDonald visits the library!

Hannah-Kate enjoying her "new" recycled shoes!

Members of the Writers' Interest Group at Mont Belvieu


June at the Library

Total circulation for the month of June…drum roll please!  34,087 items
A total of 18,384 people came in our doors and a record-breaking 2,447 kids, teens, & adults attended programs
Public computer logons:  2310 
Wireless logons:  258
Yep, we’re pretty busy!  We circulated more than 1/3 of our entire collection in one month.  All we can say is, Wow. 
The first day of summer reading was met with little kids beating on the front doors ready to get started.  Fresh out of school, the kids and teens look forward to reading for pleasure and fun for little incentives along the way.  The planning that goes on all year long pays off this time of year and the staff should be commended for their extra efforts for providing the citizens of Chambers County with outstanding library service!
Many of our programs are held off-site simply because we don’t have the room.  One of the downsides to that is not having the library readily available to grab books on the go.  This year the West Chambers Branch continues to reach capacity at the Cove Community Building with over 200 kids at their programs, Juanita Hargraves in Winnie can’t possibly fit 100+ kiddos in their story hour room, and Chambers County Library in Anahuac has no choice but to offer summer programs at the Legion Hall since their 30 capacity room just doesn’t hold up.  These space issues are currently being addressed and we hope in the near future we can move back “home” to our libraries during the summer months.
With 2 weeks left to go, we’re getting ready for the annual Summer Reading Program parties where kids get to celebrate all their hard work by accepting their reading certificates and seeing our all time favorite performer, Jeffrey Gardner perform his latest comedy show.  Jeffrey has over 15 years of experience as a children’s entertainer, and toured nationally as a cast member of “The Ronald McDonald Show” and “Bob The Builder LIVE!.”  You don’t want to miss him!
In other news, Technical Services continues to crank out new items that get delivered to the branches each week.  We stay on top of the latest books, magazines, DVDs and more so you don’t have to spend your hard-earned money!  The library offers library service to each county taxpayer for only $16.99 a year.  For less than the cost of 1 hardback book you can have access to as many as you want for free, as long as you get them back to us on time! 
And a reminder about a couple of our newest services, Freegal music and Newsbank.  Freegal is free downloadable music similar to iTunes, which allows patrons to download 3 songs a week.  Songs are yours to keep forever and each Sunday evening your account resets to allow you 3 more Monday morning.  This service was previously available only in the library but we’ve opened it up to home access as well.  Newsbank is also a fantastic source for free online newspaper access.  Papers such as the Houston Chronicle, Baytown Sun, and the Beaumont Enterprise are all available from home.  Historical papers are also part of this subscription and include papers as far back as 1690.   
And finally, something that we’ve been working on since February is our new Interlibrary Loan service.  Nothing changes for the public, but due to State budget cuts the State Library was forced to shut down the local Interlibrary Loan office in Houston.  This forced public libraries who wanted to continue to offer the service the ability to join a new program called Navigator, which is part of OCLC WorldCat (Online Computer Library Center).  We will now do our loans directly with other libraries as well as lend out to other Navigator member libraries.  We’re not too sure what to expect in requests from libraries outside our system, but we’ll be ready when it happens.  Until next month!

Carlton Carrington with Chambers County Sheriff's Department and his K-9 partner, Arco

Kaivan Armstrong from Mont Belvieu and the bike he won at the Dignity safety program

Teen Krystal Sherrill from Winnie with her coupons for reading!

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