Library’s activities span from murder mystery book club to craft classes

Published 12:34 am Thursday, September 8, 2022

PORT NECHES — At the Effie and Wilton Hebert Public Library in Port Neches, these days are more about checking in than checking out.

“Libraries are a lot more than just books, and they have been for a long time,” said Director Mark Durham.

“We’ve really worked on trying to build up our programs across a number of different areas. We’ve had children’s programs for a long time. But we’ve started trying to improve our offerings with our teen programs, and several years back we created a position for an adult programs coordinator.”

A digital sign added to the library in April helps draw attention to the facility’s many programs. (Monique Batson/The News)

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Participation in the programs has increased significantly with the April addition of a digital sign on Merriman Street.

The Hebert Foundation funded the $46,000 project that was two years in the making.

“We’ve had a lot of things for a long time, but the sign has been fantastic to help get word out,” Durham said.

Reaching outside the world of books and resource materials, the library is hosting programs for people of every age that spans from “Saturday crafternoons” to book clubs.

One of the latter focuses strictly on murder mysteries.

Then there’s the Mah Jongg group of eight to 12 people who meet weekly. And they offer hydrodipping classes, which uses spray paint and water to create colorful art.

Chair yoga, Durham said, is good for those who want to keep up with physical activity but want something less strenuous than typical yoga.

Director Mark Durham and Children’s Librarian Carolyn Bedwell are pictured at the Effie and Wilton Hebert Public Library in Port Neches. (Monique Batson/The News)

And there’s even a weekly group of teens that meet to play Dungeons and Dragons.

“I’ve been seeing up to a half-dozen or so on a regular basis. They meet in the open area in the teen section,” Durham said. “They come in for an hour and a half or so, and they have a lot of fun. Fantasy is a real engaging area, and the nice things about some of these programs is that it leads people into more interest in doing more reading.”

Reading is a big part of the children’s programs, too, but certainly not the extent.

“Our story time is our main thing that keeps us going, and it is so fun,” said Children’s Librarian Carolyn Bedwell. “I love it. “It’s where the kids come in either Wednesday or Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. and we sit in an octagon. We sing songs with them.

“We read the book and talk about it. And we do a craft that goes along with the story. We dance around. We go outside, and it’s so much fun to see them all out there playing. A lot of the moms made great friendships from this program.”

Bedwell said she’s also working on creating movie days for the children younger than school age.

Additional services at the library include printing large signs, computer and Wi-Fi access, document and photo scanning, maker spaces, die cut tools, a Cricut machine, a heat press and a notary public.

Here’s September’s schedule: