EATON — This is the first school year the Preble County Alternative School has a library within its building.
In previous years, students have borrowed books from teacher’s small collections in their classroom.While the library is not yet completed, students are still able to check books out from a collection completed by donation.
Last fall, Educational Service Center (ESC) Speech Language Pathologist Aimee McLemore decided she wanted to build a library for students in the Alternative School. She asked for donations from the ESC staff to start this library and ended up getting more than she originally expected.
It started with donations from staff members and student families. Then, McLemore’s quest for books got out to the public. The Alternative School received many donations from the Preble County Girl Scouts and the Eaton branch of the Preble County District Library.
The school received a total of approximately 3,000 books to start the Alternative School Library. The books available range all ages and subjects.
“We had a really good response from the community. We also had a few monetary donations, to put towards things like alternative seating or sensory items – other supplies that we might use in the library as well,” she said.
McLemore has begun transitioning an empty classroom into the library. The room still needs to be painted and the books need to be shelved. Eventually, they will have an electronic catalogue set up. When completed, the library will have different kinds of seating — chairs and mats included — to accommodate all the students.
She hopes to have the library completed sometime this school year.
Currently, students can enter the space with a teacher and sign out books.
For McLemore, establishing a library was all about giving the Alternative School students more opportunities.
“With the kids that we serve, coming to our school, they get more support in certain areas, but they might not get to experience some things they would in a more typical school setting. For example: music class, art class, drama club, or having a school library,” she said.
“I wanted to give them something that they would have more opportunities to have access to. I think every kid should have access to a school library. I really wanted to give them something that they could use their own ideas and use their voice to tell me what they want and how they think they should set the library up. I wanted something that the kids could take ownership of. Eventually, I would love to do some type of work study, where it is run by the kids. They catalogue the books, they check them in and out, and they organize the library. They would possibly get work study credit for this. I just wanted to give them every opportunity that they deserve to have, whether they are in a typical school setting or an alternative school setting.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH