Steve Campbell said he has “big shoes to fill” as the new director of the Scenic Regional Library system.
Campbell, 40, began his new position in early July. He most recently was the director of the North Kansas City municipal library. Campbell served in that post for nearly five years.
Campbell replaced Vivienne Beckett, who served as director since September 2011. She recently took a position in St. Charles City-County Library District.
Prior to Beckett the director was Ken Rohrbach, who had been with library since 1971 including three years as the director. Before Rohrbach was Sallie Hancox, who served as director from 1975 to 2008.
“This library has been fortunate to have some really great directors right in a row,” said Campbell. “I have some big shoes to fill.”
The library system has branches in Union, Hermann, Owensville, Pacific, New Haven, St. Clair and Warrenton, as well as a traveling bookmobile.
Campbell received his undergraduate degree at Central Missouri State University, now called University of Central Missouri, and then obtained a master of library science from the University of Missouri.
After graduating, he began work with the Mid-Continental Library District in the Kansas City area.
He and his wife are in the process of selling their home in Lee’s Summit. They have an 18-month-old son and another child on the way, Campbell said.
He noted that Rohrbach has come back to the district to serve as a consultant while Campbell makes the transition.
According to Campbell, the Scenic Regional Library system is an efficiently run system that has continually been on the forefront of library technology, and offered excellent programs..
“Considering it has the lowest tax rate in the state, they’ve done amazing things with the money they have,” he said.
Campbell said the children’s programs, ebooks and Internet services are some examples of successes within the district.
“I have been to all seven branches and the staff is great,” he said.
He added that there had been a vacancy for several months in which library board members stepped up and took leadership roles at the different branches.
Campbell told The Missourian that he will look to form a new library foundation or “friends of the library” group to “raise money” for more programming.
He also will look to partner in the community with entities including East Central College and Mercy Hospital Washington.
Plans also call for teen and adult programming at each branch, including adult book discussion groups.
“The staff has been receptive to that,” Campbell said. “As I continue working within the communities, I will learn what people are wanting.”
He further added that he wants more exposure for the library in the community, including a Facebook page that is now up and running.
“The library is the best kept secret in the area,” said Campbell. “We will make a major effort to publicize and market its services.”