Miss Jean left early on Feb. 2 for a well-deserved vacation on the West Coast of Mexico. I hope she thoroughly enjoys herself sitting on the beach and reading and taking some planned birding expeditions with Michelle Ballis, Parkdale's branch manager.

We are reaping the rewards of having a wonderful expanded library. This past Thursday we had just over 500 per our gate count and over 8,000 for the month of January.

Miss Jean's Thursday programs are drawing a regular attendance of 40-plus, then throw in a large group using the meeting room and the figures add up.

For just a day or two I felt like I was caught up for the first time in months, but that didn't last long. Thanks to the staff's work and Howard helping us, we stuffed and labeled nearly 800 invitations to our Feb. 24 dedication of the Clif Moss Nature Education Center.

We know that birders from far and near are going to flock here to hear and meet David Sibley, birding artist and author of numerous birding guidebooks. He will be available to autograph his books and some will be available to purchase.

I felt fortunate that Aimee Maceyko sought to come back to Northwest Branch after going to Central Library as a reference library aide over a year ago. She hit the ground running when she got here, thank goodness, because Maloney Dunbar had to resign suddenly in order to attend classes she had enrolled in.

I was able to pull in Jennifer Ridenour as an aide and Luke Duis, who has been a faithful library user since he attended Miss Jean's storytimes.

In mid-January, Maryann Cadena started work at Central Library in the technical department. She replaced a retiree in charge of checking the purchase orders when books come in. I've already heard good things about how quickly she caught on and did some reorganization that makes the work flow more efficiently.

It's good to be able to promote staff when positions become available.

Sometimes they don't get offered the position the first time they apply, but when they don't give up and apply again and are truly ready for the position, it's great to see them move up.

The canopies over the new bookshelves in the adult non-fiction finally went up this past week. The Great Egrets II bronze statue has been receiving well-deserved admiration. It is a majestic work of art and has a permanent roosting place in the adult area across from the children's library entrance.

Thanks to Jamie Ritter's volunteering to help me organize the first series of six birding programs. She has a great lineup of topics and speakers starting at 2 p.m. March 8.

You will be hearing more about this, but think about attending if you and your children would like to know more about birds and how to identify them. This would be a great family hobby to enjoy. We anticipate a children's only program later in the year.

Lynda Whitton is the head librarian for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.