By Anne Benevento.
My daughter is one of the lucky students that attend a new school in DeKalb County called Tapestry Public Charter School. This amazing school was started by two moms, both have neurotypical developing children and also children on the autism spectrum. They were searching for a place of inclusion for their children to learn, did not find any schools in the area, so with great effort, they started one.
It was in one of the rented classrooms of a local church where Tapestry started that I first saw a sad, crooked bookcase with about 8 books on it. I knew that was not good enough for these wonderful kids. But since it was a brand new school there were no plans or a budget yet for a library, so with great effort, I started one.
I began filling the shelves by shopping at yard sales, Goodwill, library book sales, digging through friends’ basements and used bookstores. I held book drives and ran Scholastic Book Fairs to earn money and get donations. The support and encouragement of the principal, who luckily is an avid reader, has been outstanding. Many parents of this new school came together and donated books, supplies, and their time to help me build this idea.
Since 2014, Tapestry has grown from a middle school, and by adding a new class each year, to having our first high school class graduate next year. We are now located in the old Northwoods School in Doraville which we have moved into and made our home. Since we have more room, I was able to turn one of the larger rooms into an “official library” this year! This was made possible because a private family donated a joyful amount that allowed Tapestry to be able to purchase new chairs, tables, rugs and paint. This serene new space now seems to be the heart of the school where kids can come in individually or in groups and work on tables, on high tops, or sit cozily in one of our modern wing chairs and read!
Almost all of what I have learned has been from your welcoming library community! I have asked so many, many questions of different school librarians, retired librarians, research librarians, even some that were librarian friends of friends – they all took the time to share what they knew, answer questions, give advise and encouragement. (Starting a library from scratch was a bigger project than I originally realized!) From them I learned how to enter books into the system, how to make barcodes and spine labels, how to cover books, put in reading levels, separate them into color coded genera’s, and so much more. Because of all the help I received, there is now a new working library for our amazing kids – one where they find favorite new authors and discover new stories every day!
To learn more about the Tapestry Public Charter School and its library visit the school’s website at http://www.tapestrycharter.org