Kasey Wright spent her first full day on the job last week as the new librarian for Scenic Regional Library's Hermann branch.
Wright's first official day may have been Aug. 19, but she has actually been floating around the system's various branches. She has been with Scenic Regional since March 2019 as an adult programmer. She moved into a full-time floating position with the system last September. She interviewed for the opening at Hermann in July, when Tina Coates left the position. Coates and her family decided to move back to Illinois, where she will work in a library system there and be closer to relatives.
The floating duties for Wright -- who is from Herculaneum, Missouri -- have involved handling library assistant tasks at all nine Scenic Regional branches and the administrative office, including covering for staff vacations and emergencies.
"We are working on digitizing every piece of (administrative) paper," she said of one system-wide project that will go back to records starting in 1959.
Now settled in Hermann, Wright said she is helping prepare a program roll-out of 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. Families of those up to 5 years old that are interested in participating may sign up either in person or by going online at www.scenicregional.org.
"The goal is we want parents to read to their kids….," she said of the nationally-based program, which kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 1.
Earlier this month, the branch finished with its first-ever virtual summer reading program -- due to the pandemic -- with prize drawings held for children and adults.
"We really did have a wonderful turnout," said Wright.
Among other services, the Hermann branch has binoculars, telescopes, fishing poles, and cake pans that patrons may check out. Slides and a microscope, donated by East Central College, may also be checked out from the library. All of the items are floatable among branches in the system and can be obtained at Hermann through loans.
"They're becoming very popular very quick," she added of all the services.
A virtual book club has started on the website via Zoom, and anyone may join from any location in the Scenic Regional system. All library programs -- from children to teen-agers and adults -- can be found on Facebook.
Despite the coronavirus, the Hermann branch is continuing with hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Information on curbside service, along with services impacted by the virus, is available on the website. Face masks are strongly encouraged, but not mandated. Staff will continue to wear face masks.
There is a slowdown in patron traffic because of COVID-19, admitted Wright.
"We do plan on staying open for our community," she said.