She's only been on the job for a day but Meredith Wickham, the newly-named Executive Director of First Regional Library has already made a name for herself in the Magnolia State as well as nationally.
Wickham was winner of the prestigious Peggy May Award for library innovation and in 2016, she was recognized as an Emerging Leader in the library profession by the American Library Association
Now Wickham has been tapped to lead one of the largest library systems in the state.
Wickham will oversee a $5 million budget, a staff totaling more than 120 employees and a five-county library operation which encompasses more than 14 libraries and more than one million visits by library patrons a year.
Library officials conducted a nationwide search to replace Wisconsin native Ed Hughes who retired earlier this year.
"I feel very fortunate to join the staff at First Regional," Wickham said. "I have the excitement of working for a library system known for its innovative programs and success in serving the public," said Wickham, who comes to First Regional Library from the Kemper-Newton Library system in southeast Mississippi.
Originally from Jonesboro, Ga., south of Atlanta, Wickham is also one of Hernando's newest residents.
Her husband, Dr. Florin Lung, is a professor of physics at Mississippi State University. He is remaining behind for now with the couple's beloved cats.
"I love Mississippi," Wickham said. "I love how people care for each other and there is a great sense of feeling for the community. People are genuine. It's not fakery. I also love how people have a great sense of humor. It's dry humor."
Wickham has great plans for the library system but is keeping them under wraps for now.
"I want to learn where we are and how we can get better," Wickham said. "I'm known in the field for having some fun, radical ideas, so stay tuned."
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at email@example.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.