On Monday in the Davies High School library, South High School senior Rachel Aabye marked a milestone in her Girl Scout career – the achievement of the GSA’s Gold Award. The award, the highest achievable for girls in scouting, is given for the planning, development and completion of a project that benefits the scout’s home community.
Aabye’s project centered on the large-print resources of the Fargo Public Schools library system. She discovered the project opportunity through one of her scouting connections – Special Education teacher Julie Anderson, who works with visually impaired students.
The District currently only has about a dozen visually-impaired students who utilize large-print resources through its inter-library collection of thousands of books. Unfortunately, the number of books in the District’s catalog that are printed in 14-point font size – the minimum font size that those students can effectively use – is a sliver of the entire District catalog. (According to Anderson, it is common for paperback publishers to classify a book printed in 12-point as “large-print.”)
Under Anderson’s advisement, Aabye designed a plan to classify all of the FPS’s large print books by font size, to determine if they met the special ed teacher’s criteria of what is needed for her students. Aabye visited all of the District’s libraries with a list of 250 titles of large-print books, and classified them according to font size.
Today, those that meet Anderson’s criteria are designated as such in the District’s online library system. Going forward, the process gained from Aabye’s project will be used in the purchase and cataloging of all new books.
During her project, Aabye also collected donations and presented a check to the District to be used to purchase additional electronic and large-print books.