Tuesday, October 13, 2015


September @ The Library!

September was National Library Card Sign-Up month.  And how fitting that the West Chambers Branch in Mont Belvieu hit a milestone reaching over 5,000 cardholders!  Each month we add over 100 new cards in the system.  By issuing family cards, the number of actual library users is more than double the cardholders on file.  Currently, the Chambers County Library System has 10,523 cardholders with an average of 3 people per account.  That’s almost the population of the county. 

Growth has brought great things to Chambers County, and libraries are definitely in demand! 
As the new Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch continues with construction, we have also continued adding additional staff as the county budget allows.  Last year we requested and were approved a full time position.  That position was filled by Shelby Fielding and she’s settled in nicely and continues to be trained to prepare for the transition to the new building.  This past month we added Sabrina Galloway as the Children’s Librarian.  We were also approved for an additional full time and part-time position in our 2016 budget.  The full time position will be filled by existing staff, and we’ll start the search for the part-time position January 1.  Moving into a new building leaves us with some unknowns in terms of program expectations.  On average, the West Chambers Branch has 10-15 programs each month.  Once we settle into the new building, we’ll have a better idea what to expect since we anticipate increases in checkouts and foot traffic.  Being closer in proximity to the schools leads us to believe we’ll be concentrating more on after-school programs.  The best part is seeing the direction this new library takes us.  Construction continues, and due to the 31 bad weather days claimed, the latest completion date had to be moved from November to January 15.  It will definitely be a Happy New Year!

The Chambers County Library in Anahuac was at capacity in their programming for September.  Over 25 programs, including GED and ESL took place this past month.  GED classes are funded through the College of the Mainland in Texas City as part of their Adult Education program.  Their service area includes Chambers County, and they’ve been reaching out to mid-county, as well as Winnie, to assist the adult population.  ESL classes have expanded to a beginner and advanced course this year due to increasing demand for the classes.  ESL is funded through a grant from the Anahuac Municipal Development District.  Many of the students who have completed ESL have moved on to GED prep classes.  It’s a wonderful thing to see the personal growth of these students.  They’re finding jobs and working to contribute to the county in a positive way. 

One of the more popular programs during September was ‘Zydeco 101’ taught by staff member LaShebia Haskin.  LaShebia had over 20 people at the library learning the basics of Zydeco dance just in time for Gatorfest.  Several staff members from Anahuac set up at Gatorfest to represent the library in the educational tent.  Every year we try to have a presence at the local festivals or other outreach opportunities.  It’s important for the public to see our faces outside the library! 

County Librarian Valerie Jensen and Assistant County Librarian Annie Vass held a Canines and Cocktails event on the 17th.  This program was a ticketed event done in partnership with the Friends of the Library with proceeds split between the new library in Mont Belvieu and the Baytown Humane Society.  This event was held on the library lawn and attendees were able to mingle with other dog lovers while enjoying music, drinks, and pet photographs. A great time was had by all, and we anticipate doing it again next year!

The Juanita Hargraves Memorial Branch in Winnie held programs for the tween and teen crowds.  Duct Tape projects and DIY whiteboards were among the crafts.  Movie nights, story time, computer classes, and book club were also in full force. 

We’ve pulled back on programs at Mont Belvieu so that we can concentrate on more projects that need to be completed before we move.  But the teens were able to have an Ultimate Frisbee program outside on the library property.  Movie night, story time, and book club will continue through the rest of the year. 

On the 23rd, the teen and adult program staff met at Anahuac.  Once a year we try to find time for staff members who specialize in age specific programs to meet and share ideas so they can prepare for new activities in the months to come.  Adult programs are slowly being added to the library system’s calendar each month at all branches, so be on the lookout for some fun (and unique) activities for the over 18 crowd.   
Storytime officially started back the week of September 7th.  Staff member Jennifer Kellum filled in at Mont Belvieu until the Children’s Librarian position was filled.  Special thanks to her for helping out!  Each branch holds a weekly story time focusing on stories, crafts, songs, and movement exercises.  Each year the crowds seem to grow, and the parents tend to have just as much fun as the little ones.  Winnie’s Children’s Librarian Yolie Belt introduced an “iStorytime” where she included iPads/Technology as part of the program.  Children’s staff member Michelle Mims attended iStorytime to get ideas of her own for Anahuac.  You’re never too young (or old) to learn technology…and the library’s the perfect spot to learn.

Until next month!

Canines & Cocktails at Anahuac

"Dot" story time at Winnie

Ultimate Frisbee at Mont Belvieu

Anahuac staff at Gatorfest

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