Ella Lewis, an Indian Hills eighth-grader, is helping to get more books into the hands of Shawnee Mission students.
This year Lewis hand-built little, free lending libraries as part of an Eagle Project and collaborated with school staff to donate and custom build them for each school.
“My family and I love visiting libraries so I decided I wanted to build some,” Lewis shared.
Prior to completing the project, Lewis worked to gain feedback from school staff to determine what features might be needed for each library at the school. For example, she worked with staff to determine if it would be better to install the library inside or outside and identified the need for a post for library installation outside. She also consulted with district staff about the installation process.
As Lewis donated a library to Shawnee Mission West High School, librarian Anne Stowers shared that she expected there to be a high demand for books. Prior to Lewis’s donation, a teacher had shared free books they no longer needed with students and the books were claimed quickly. Stowers anticipated students would look forward to selecting books for themselves, for their younger siblings, and the free library would be a helpful resource for families who come to Shawnee Mission West for meetings.
“The students here will be delighted to take a book home to keep or to share,” Stowers expressed.
Lewis has done a wonderful job coordinating installation and customizing the libraries she built for each school, said Dr. Leigh Anne Neal, chief of early childhood learning and sustainability.
“Students continue to lead the way on sustainability efforts in the Shawnee Mission School District,” Neal shared. “We are proud of Ella’s work to share and reuse resources that will support students across the district.”
An Eagle Scout Service Project is a culminating project in a scout’s training in the Scouts BSA program. The project, completed to demonstrate leadership, also benefits the community. About 55,000 young people complete an Eagle Scout Service Project each year, according to the Boy Scouts of America website.