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story.lead_photo.caption The Librista app allows Moniteau County Library patrons the possibility to browse the cloud-based card catalog, renew or reserve items or sign up for events. Photo by California Democrat

The Moniteau County Library Board met last Wednesday to discuss whether or not the library should shut down during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following a short closed session, the board decided it would be in the best interest of library employees and the community if the library shut its doors to the public for the immediate future but remains open offering curbside services, meaning individuals could request books and have them brought out to their vehicle. This directive is currently in effect and will continue until April 6.

Since the library was closed for maintenance recently, traffic was lower than usual. But after finishing upgrades, it now has freshly painted walls, new shelving and a charging station with Apple plug-ins to come.

"We are receiving a lot of compliments on the new look of the library, although I have to say the traffic has been pretty light — I think people are kind of cautious about coming into a public area like that, but people are very complimentary," library director Connie Walker said.

Continuing with upgrades within the library, an emergency light will be installed in the elevator above the controls in case the electricity goes out so people will be able to see the call button.

Circulation has increased by 1,249 items and TumbleBooks were up 396 from last February. Under their outreach and programs, the library's Winter Checkout Challenge was successful. This year's edition saw the participant count rise to 182 adults and 1,708 entries from last year's 120 participants and 1,076 entries.

The library will also begin promoting its digital apps to make it easier for people to reserve books from their phone or tablet.

"We are promoting our digital stuff, and (Moniteau County Library assistant) Heidi (Porter) is going to do tutorials on how to use the Librista app." Walker said. "So people can use the digital books, the audio books, and we're available through phone call to help with that."

Looking at old news, library board president Laura Burger gave an update on the new policy and personnel manual regarding what needs to be included within a job description, background checks, where employees should park, the amount of hours each employee is allowed to work and the vacation time they can accumulate depending on their ranking within the library. The board approved the updates.

The Moniteau County Library Board's next regular meeting will take place April 15.

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