Friday, October 04, 2013


Falling into September

Chambers County Library System – September, 2013

Fall programming is upon us, and the library staff have been busy bees planning all sorts of fun activities.  I think they’re having withdrawals since Summer Reading!   This time of year we welcome Toddler Time back into our regular routine.  Michelle, Yolie, and Missy have been cranking out some of the cutest crafts, games, and stories for the little ones.  These ladies do a wonderful job of keeping the toddlers engaged and excited about books and the library.  One of the Mont Belvieu regulars even has his own fan club for Missy, complete with a t-shirt that says, “I love Mrs. Missy”.  Now that’s a fan!  

September also starts festival time in Chambers County.  Starting with Anahuac, Gatorfest was once again a big draw for the county.  The library always has a presence in the educational tent promoting services and handing out flyers to let people know we’re here.  The biggest photo op this year seemed to be the big stuffed alligator in the center of the educational tent.  When not being used at Gatorfest, the 11 ft. alligator’s home is at the library sitting on top of our bookshelves.  He gets quite a bit of attention from the public.  Thanks goes out to the staff members who worked the booth. 

On the 5th, Anahuac branch librarian Aquilia De la Cruz attended a Small Library Management advanced workshop in Diboll on Building and Sustaining Partnerships.  Aquilia has almost completed the 2 year program, which provides intensive training for library staff managing smaller community libraries.  Three staff members are currently enrolled in the program. 
In other programming news, staff member Lesa Boutin coordinated with The Rose Mobile Mammography to allow an alternative to the doctor’s office and hospital for the public to get their mammograms.  Pre-registration has been a success and we anticipate this to be a yearly event. 

September 22-28 marked Banned Books Week for libraries.  Banned Books Week was celebrated, so to speak, at all three libraries, with very interesting, and different, displays at each site. The displays tended to generate discussion by the patrons with the staff, some of it not quite what we might have expected! But that, of course, is part of the whole effort behind Banned Books Week – to get people talking about censorship, the books that have been challenged, and to get them thinking about their own opinions of the same.

County Librarian, Valerie Jensen and Assistant County Librarian, Annie Vass have been able to spend a little time writing grants recently.  Grants are usually left on the backburner because they require quite a bit of office time to focus on the writing, and with us out and about at the branches, we don’t get a whole lot of that.  But we are proud to say we were both successful at our attempts to get funding for a couple of items we’ve had on our “wish lists”.  Annie wrote a grant to the Ladd & Katherine Hancher Foundation to purchase 2 Early Literacy computer stations.  These computers provide kids with over 60 educational games on a very durable touchscreen computer.  All of the libraries now have these computers for public use, and the little ones just love them.  Valerie wrote our second grant to ask for the digitization of The Age newspapers.  The Age was the first newspaper in Chambers County and has information dating back to the late 1800’s to present day reporting various happenings throughout the county.  The papers will be scanned and housed at the University of North Texas’ Portal to Texas History website.  One of the goals at the library is to continue to provide access to the rich local history Chambers County has to offer.  The Age will soon be available for public access to view, search, and print.   

Until next month!

Adalyn Hoskins enjoying teddy bear storytime at Anahuac

Banned Books Week display at Mont Belvieu

Missy's littlest storytime fan at Mont Belvieu

Noe Mejia and his son enjoy the new kids computer at Anahuac


Calm after the storm

Chambers County Library System – August, 2013

August was another busy month in the Library System.  With summer reading behind us, we turn our sights on fall programming, which we anticipate you’ll be happy to see!  One thing I want to mention is the wonderful summer help staff we had this year.  The student workers were hired at each library and all did an exceptional job during our busiest time of year.  The “summer helper” program is sponsored by Commissioners’ Court above the Library System’s budget.  The students provided immense amounts of assistance, not only in getting ready for programs, but in performing a wide variety of tasks that our regular staff can’t get to during the year.  The salaries provided to these young people help them greatly in our area, where jobs are scarce, and it is a bonus of $12,245 to the library system.   

August allowed us to also do some in-house staff training.  We’re very fortunate to have a talented group of staff members who enjoy sharing their “areas of expertise” with everyone.  We took advantage of their knowledge by having several cross training workshops.  We started the month with an Intro to Genealogy taught by Winnie staff member Mary Abshire.  Mary is the resident genealogy guru and several other staff attended to learn her tricks and tips.  The class went so well that the West Chambers Branch will have their first Genealogy for Beginners program in September.   Next up was an opportunity for our Children’s Programmers to meet and brainstorm.  Our newest kid staffer is Yolie Belt from Winnie and she fit right in with the gang.  The ladies enjoyed sharing ideas in their effort to provide quality kids programs throughout the school year.  And finally, County Librarian, Valerie Jensen did a book mending class.  Yes, there is such a thing as mending a book the right way!  The class allowed 8 of the library staff to do some hands on training to fix broken spines and torn pages. 

On the 13th the Library Advisory Board met for their quarterly meeting.  The Volunteer policy and Interlibrary Loan policy were up for discussion and approval.  The board approved all changes, which take effect immediately.  Their next meeting is scheduled for November. 

County Librarian Valerie Jensen, and Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass attended a United Way Development Committee meeting on the 14th.  United Way is working on a presence in Chambers County to address the needs of the citizens.  One area that the library will potentially be involved is by providing a Homework Help program twice weekly for students who will be provided with transportation to and from the library.  Once the details are lined out and funding is in place, we will provide more information about the program.  The library is excited about getting involved and anticipate great results! 

A couple of fun programs that took place in August were a Back to School bash at Anahuac and Winnie.  Both libraries provided activities for the school age crowd.  A backpack race, movie, Angry birds, snacks, and more were on hand for the kids.  All total there were over 100 people in attendance.  It’s a great way to get kids excited about school and the library, and it seems we’ve started a yearly trend!  The West Chambers Branch held a cooking class for the little ones complete with edible crayons.  The kids loved being able to eat the treats they created!  Also on the West Side, the teens had a couple of fun activities with their inflatable Twister game, and a field trip to see City of Bones.

Branch Librarian Aquilia De la Cruz was asked by Anahuac Middle School to attend 6th grade orientation to assist with online registration for Spanish speaking parents.  Aquilia has a reputation with the Hispanic community as an excellent computer teacher providing classes that help parents become comfortable with basic computer skills, creating email addresses, printing documents, and accessing the Skyward program through the school.  Her classes are in high demand and word of mouth about the classes sparked the idea from the school to involve the library staff with assistance on orientation night. 

And finally, our Assistant County Librarian completed her Master’s in Library Science (MLS) degree in August.  Annie attended her graduation at the University of North Texas in Denton.  Having another MLS on staff will be extremely beneficial in many ways to the library! 

Until next month!

Back to school bash at Anahuac

Kids cooking class at Mont Belvieu

The ladies of Chambers County Library System storytime

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