“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow…” The essence of this encouraging proverb can be traced as far back to Chaucer in the 1300s. This fits the one-of-a-kind Fairyland School and the mission of each faculty and staff member beautifully, all nurturing a future generation to do mighty and wonderful things! A beautiful permanent rendition of this quote has come to glorious life in the library.
Beginning at the end of this past school year, the library began a full transformation. Unneeded shelving was dismantled and removed, giving way to a maker-space corner (complete with an epic Lego wall) and a revamped casual seating area with a gorgeous mural and art project, both themed after a much loved story. Coordinating vinyl seat cushions were permanently attached to all library wooden seating (much to the delight of students and librarian alike), and thanks to Walker County Schools, a new coordinating carpet replaced the over 20- year-old one in the space.
The crowning glory and highlight to the renovation are the three-dimensional trees and outdoor scenes in the main meeting space and casual seating areas, created by a team of local artists (CORE Associates from Dayton, Tenn.). In the main meeting space, where all Fairyland students gather weekly to encounter the love of learning through reading, a life-size oak tree with autumn leaves and a chair built into the trunk have come to life on one side, and a rock outcropping with a stone archway is on the other side, both wrapping around the top and framing a beautiful, pre-existing painting of the outdoors. A small, wood-stamped concrete stage was constructed at the base, creating a scene of an outdoor view on Lookout. Thanks to contributions from the incredible Fairyland family, the project also includes an additional small tree in the casual seating area featuring a painting and memorial book art themed after “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” by William Joyce. There will be a grand opening of this new space on Saturday, August 10, from 2-4, and the community is invited.
This project is a big one for this author-librarian, as a tiny, acorn-sized fraction of it has been in my head and heart since I started at FES 15 years ago. I was asked to do an ideal library design for a grad school course, and, after looking at the large painting of the outdoors I’d read by each day, this is what developed. Its outcome exceeds anything I could have ever imagined. I am beyond thrilled at the fruition of this project and can already see what a safe, wonder-instilling, sanctuary of a space this will be to generations of Fairyland family members. On their behalf, I couldn’t be more grateful.
Without the vision of Dawn White and David Manser from CORE Associates, constant support and encouragement from parent volunteer coordinator Deanna Willingham and PTO president Sarah Lehn, the financial support of our PTO, and the Fairyland family and community, the Fairyland Forest would not exist. Additional thanks go to a score of parent, staff and community volunteers, including Emily Scoggins, Mary Evans, Monica Landis, Debbie Shannon and Jenny Wells and their families, as well as FES staff members Beth Bradford, Morgan Lingerfelt, Elizabeth Millirons (along with artistic skills of her sons Harrison and Emory) and Amanda Roach for volunteering some of their precious summer hours to this large, multi-faceted project. The space is unique, beautiful, and more than ready to be filled with students who will read, wonder, think, learn and grow!