Kara Bell

Kara Bell checks books back into the system Thursday afternoon at St. Clair Scenic Regional Library. Bell recently started as the new branch manager for the library. She previously taught nine years at St. Clair High School.

Missourian Photo

St. Clair Scenic Regional Library welcomed its new branch manager, Kara Bell, earlier this month.

Bell formerly was an English and journalism teacher at St. Clair High School for nine years.

Before she and her husband moved to Missouri, she worked as a circulation clerk for several libraries, including a college library in Michigan where she handled interlibrary loans and periodicals.

“I really enjoyed library work. I (had a) yearning to go back to that and so when this opportunity became available, I was really excited about it,” Bell said.

One of her main responsibilities is being a liaison between the library and the St. Clair community.

“That’s something I’m very excited about because having taught here for nine years, I know a lot of the youth in the community and their parents, and I have pretty good ties with those people,” said Bell, who also is eager about telling the community the variety of resources the library has to offer.

“We have some great event programming for both adults and children, and we also obviously have a lot of online resources, everything from periodicals and books to movies and music,” she said.

Bell noted the St. Clair Scenic Regional Library website offers a live online tutoring program that will be available to students seven days a week from 3 to 11 p.m.

“That will really help students with science, and math and English and social studies, and I believe Spanish is available,” she said.

Expansion

Construction on the library’s building expansion will start sometime this fall, according to Bell.

The expansion will include meeting and study rooms, a children’s area, a larger teen space, an adult space equipped with an electric fireplace and a coffee bar, a community garden, and an outside patio.

“One of the things we’re excited about is the meeting space we’re going to have, which will allow us to do even more programing here at the branch and we’ll have dedicated spaces for teens and children,” Bell said. “I think that’s going to be a great resource for the community. It’s already a nice library and it’s only going to get better.”

In late July, the Scenic Regional Library Board chose Wright Construction Services Inc., St. Peters, to do the construction work for all of the library branches.

Wright Construction Services Inc. had the lowest bid at $1.3 million. The Warrenton and St. Clair branches will be expanded and the Sullivan, New Haven, Owensville, Pacific and Warren County branches will all get new buildings.

Bell said she is looking forward to working with the community in a new capacity.

“I loved teaching and I love kids and I grew to really enjoy the relationships I had with their parents as well and with my co-workers, but teaching is an all consuming job and there’s a lot that goes with it that’s not in the classroom,” she said. “I’m looking forward to actually getting to do some of the activities that you can’t always do in the classroom here in the library.”

Bell added that she cannot wait to meet new community members who may come into the library.

“I’m anxious to meet the community members that I don’t know. I hope they come into the library and introduce themselves and I’m excited about all the programs that we have to offer,” she said.

Former branch manager April Becirovic left for another job opportunity.