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Members of the Moniteau County Library Board met to discuss various business and reports at the group's Sept. 15 meeting.

During their meeting, Library Director Connie Walker spoke about topics such as early plans for new construction, changes in technology, alterations to library shelving and the progress of the library's Summer Reading Program.

While Walker said construction plans for a new building are still in the very early stages, she is currently gathering names for potential architects to take on this project. She said she is also in the process of creating a request for proposals, which she will then send out to multiple architects.

"In this process, we typically do a request for proposal," Walker said. "We ask for (architects) to come andshow us some past projects to get a sense of what their style is. There's usually a public meeting where they come and present, then we decide who we'd like to hire (based on that)."

Walker said she hopes to have her request for proposal complete by early November as she balances other projects. While discussing the potential for new technology in the current building, she explained that the Moniteau County Library had been fortunate enough to receive help from the Missouri State Library in this effort.

"In looking at a building, we need to kind of re-think our technology — we've got a server here, but we may want to go to something that's on a cloud," Walker said. "We have the opportunity (to work with) the State Library — they have received a huge amount of money from the CARES Act and decided to have their affiliate, MOREnet (Missouri Research and Education Network), assess libraries' networks with no cost."

She said that this gesture was a "big deal," as it is not too often this kind of service is offered and she highly values their opinion. However, this is not the only service that Moniteau County Library has received. Walker said the library had gained a designated donation to replace the shelving in the library's children's department. The library will be doing away with the last of its laminate shelving after purchasing the shelving from the Missouri Vocational Enterprise. This will also be their third order that they have placed from the company, so all the shelves will match.

With that in mind, Walker also brought up the success of Moniteau County Library's Summer Reading Program. Walker said that in 2021, 406 children participated in the program and the library received very positive feedback from parents and guardians alike. As their largest program, Walker said she is happy to report that 2,341 juvenile books, 3,443 children's books and 84 STEAM Kits were checked out during this time, with 69 new library cards issued as well.

Walker writes a grant application every year to buy more books and services to LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) Grant programs, and said she is optimistic considering the surveys and feedback that have been returned to the Moniteau County Library. She said while it has been harder to navigate their programs due to COVID-19, she hopes that circumstances regarding the success of the library and its services will be easier

"Last year we wrote these grants back in the fall, so nobody really knew about COVID, but we had a $10,000 grant to work with," Walker said. "We had no programs, no in-house programs, so (we had to work around that) and (the grantors) allowed us to buy a really nice laptop for virtual programs. The last two years have been a real challenge and we have been able to adapt our program. Hopefully by next year, we'll be back to normal."

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