March 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Missouri Science & Technology Student’s Class Assignment Leads to Lavish Children’s Library Mural


Missouri University of Science and Technology student Lara Edwards sits in front of her mural. Photographs all courtesy of Missouri S & T taken by Sam O’Keefe

When Missouri University of Science and Technology student Lara Edwards, a senior studying biological sciences, took an Art in the Community class last summer, she wasn’t just fulfilling a school assignment—she also took the opportunity to give back to the Leola Millar Children’s Library, part of the Rolla Public Library in Rolla, Missouri. Both Edwards and another student, Michael Crabtree, decided to create a mural in the children’s library and worked on the project together, with Crabtree taking measurements and sketching out the mural on paper (planning the scale of the mural), and Edwards coming up with the color scheme and deciding what to draw.

Though a great deal of planning went in, both Edwards and Crabtree were flexible, adding a nighttime scene later on, although they had initially planned only daytime scenes.

“… while we were painting, Michael said he thought we should include night scenes,” said Edwards on the Discover Missouri S & T website. “So we picked one scene to be nighttime. This decision didn’t change the characters or landscape in that area, but it changed the color scheme a lot.”


Time was another matter the two had to be flexible about. The two students had originally planned to devote 40 hours toward finishing the mural, but when the class ended in August 2013, they were still not finished. They continued working, devoting more than 100 hours total to the project, between their other classes.

Edwards even worked in details at the request of children visiting the library, including an image of a penguin for a boy who was initially disappointed to see that she was painting an owl.

“…he thought I was painting a penguin and when he realized it was an owl, he was disappointed,” said Edwards on the Discover Missouri S & T website. “So the next day, I painted a penguin on the wall for him.”

Edward’s efforts paid off. Her lavish mural includes planets, jungles, deserts, dinosaurs, and more.

This isn’t the last project for Edwards on the horizon. She is finishing a comic book she is working on about endangered cheetahs, which her Arts in the Community professor, Luce Myers, has plans to publish upon completion.


“When you find a student who has this kind of vibrating gem inside them, it’s so exciting and you don’t want it to go unnoticed,” Myers said on the Discover Missouri S & T website. “You don’t want to miss the opportunity to shine a light on them.”

Edward’s published comic book will be publicly displayed at the campus student center.

To see more photos of the library murals, go to

Mahnaz Dar About Mahnaz Dar

Mahnaz Dar ( is Assistant Managing Editor for Library Journal and School Library Journal and can be found on Twitter @DibblyFresh.



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