Starkville Public Library, MSU unveil 'read'

Author: Leah Barbour

Travis R. Crabtree

Travis R. Crabtree (Photo by Beth Wynn)

Starkville community officials gathered with Mississippi State University leaders on Tuesday [March 31] at Starkville Public Library to celebrate the debut of "read," the new sign marking the building.

Senior landscape architecture major Travis R. Crabtree, the son of Kenneth Crabtree of Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Shannon Arrowsmith of Madison, said he developed the idea to draw attention to the building, located in downtown Starkville at 326 University Dr.

"Come by and see it at night—it's as cool as seeing it in the day," the MSU Dawn Brancheau Service-Learning Scholar continued.

The signage demonstrates how a partnership formed between the library and the university will benefit the entire community, said Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman.

"This is a great example of why 'town and gown' relationships are important," he said. "This project provided a unique service-learning opportunity for students at Mississippi State, and the community receives a great project that makes a visible improvement at minimal cost."

Crabtree's entire design-build landscape architecture class assisted in the construction and placement of the letters, said assistant professor Cory Gallo, teacher of the course. He thanked them, as well as the other sponsors that made the project possible.

Gallo said Brian Templeton, MSU Extension associate, coordinated implementation of the signage, and MSU's Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence, or CASLE, provided lighting. Also, Bell Building Supply provided additional materials, and Starkville Public Library funded the new landscaping.

MSU Associate Provost of Academic Affairs Peter Ryan represented both the MSU president's and provost's offices at the celebration.

"Service-learning is giving students an opportunity to apply what they've learned in the classroom," he said. "Experiential learning is becoming a more significant part of the expectations of employers, and in this instance, Travis has produced a project that brings attention to a very important aspect of our community—literacy."

Library Director Virginia "Ginny" Holtcamp said the completed project surpassed her expectations, and she thanked Crabtree, as well as his classmates and the entire MSU family for its support of the service-learning project that brought signage to the library.

Likewise, CASLE Director April Heiselt said she was proud of the MSU team coming together and using its talent and knowledge to better the community.

Learn more about CASLE at, and discover more about landscape architecture at MSU by visiting

Date: 2015-03-31

Landscape Architecture