Rachel Russell earned her Gold Award, the highest award in scouting, after making the Discovery Center Library more handicap-accessible, safer, and inviting to students. She noticed that the library could be more functional with a few improvements and created a plan to rearrange and move the shelving so students in wheelchairs could maneuver with ease. The original shelving was too tall and not attached to the wall, so when children were reaching for a book, they could lose their balance and possibly have the shelving tip on them.
“When I talked to the librarians about the sustainability of the project, they were very excited that I was making it easier for everyone to get around and enjoy the Discovery Center,” says Rachel.
To achieve all of the updates needed for the library, Rachel acquired lower shelving from another school in the district and removed the outdated shelves. She recovered chairs and couches, made throw pillows, and added pictures to make the space more comfortable and inviting. Now, students have a fun place to read and librarians have an easier time seeing students so they can worry less about safety hazards. With the rearrangement, an open space was created so students and teachers can gather to one area and a Smartboard was added. Because of the new technology, students have been able to skype with an author from the United Kingdom, a marine biologist from the Bahamas, and a fire fighter from Arkansas.