Charis at Agnes Scott College: Frequently Asked Questions

Picture of new Charis House before renovation

Dear beloved Charis community members,

Our move to and partnership with Agnes Scott College is the single biggest project we've attempted in our nearly 45 year history as a feminist institution. We've asked a great many people, including YOU, to take this leap of faith with us and to help Fund the Feminist Future of Charis. We are so grateful to every single person who has offered help in the form of time, money, advice, or good wishes. This renovation of our new Charis home is possible because of you. We know you have many questions about how the move and transition will go. Because of the way major projects like this one sometimes go, we have had an ever shifting timeline but we are narrowing our move window and will keep updating this space as new information and new dates emerge. Thank you for your patience and for going on this journey with us. We are so proud to be your independent feminist bookstore.  

  • Why a Charis at Agnes Scott College Partnership?

Our commitment to innovation is at its heart a commitment to sustainability; you, our community members, have invested so much into Charis as a gathering place and a home, and are always seeking new ways to ensure that Charis will remain a community institution for generations to come. Metro Atlanta’s landscape is always changing, so, in an effort to make sure we could weather the capricious economic tides, our board, staff, and volunteers came together in late 2013 to begin a strategic plan that would seek enduring partnerships for Charis. From these conversations it became clear that we should sell our longtime home at 1189 Euclid Ave. NE. In 2016 we sold our current building and have been leasing the space from the new owner.

Charis Books and Charis Circle are nationally known in the bookselling industry for our innovative hybrid business model and commitment to sustaining and growing book culture in the digital age. Charis Books and More is the 2018-2019 We Need Diverse Books Bookseller of the Year Award winner and both Charis Books and Charis Circle are regularly recognized by community organizations, non-profits, and news organizations as leaders in the field of mission driven business and feminist organizations. Together, Charis Books and Charis Circle provide the only local, dedicated, feminist gathering space, open 7 days a week, and program more than 270 events a year dedicated to encouraging the expression of diverse and marginalized voices, working for social justice, and fostering sustainable feminist communities.  

Agnes Scott College has been a longtime friend of Charis Books and Charis Circle. Many “Scotties” have worked at the bookstore over the years or served on our board of directors. We regularly host Agnes Scott College students as interns and partner with faculty to sponsor readings, lectures, and teach-ins. ASC is a historic and trans-affirming women’s college that encourages its students to “think deeply, live honorably, and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times.” In 2015, we began talks with Professor Beth Hackett of the Women’s Studies Department, which led to conversations with then Agnes Scott President Elizabeth Kiss about what it would mean for the college and for Charis to become Agnes Scott College’s campus bookstore.

As conversations evolved, it became clearer and clearer that the partnership would be a natural fit for both institutions, providing stability and a forever home for Charis Books and Charis Circle, and an innovative, independent, and flexible bookstore and programming partner for Agnes Scott College. We began jointly renovating the historic 184 South Candler property and look forward to serving our collective communities there beginning in early 2019 under the leadership of new college president, Lee Zak.

  • Will Charis Books remain an independent bookstore and will Charis Circle remain an independent non-profit?

Yes, this is a partnership, not a merger. Charis Books and More and Charis Circle will both remain wholly independent. Charis Circle will continue to be governed by our Board of Directors (drawn from the Charis community, which includes Agnes Scott College students and staff) and will make programming choices which are accountable to that board. The bookstore will remain independent and will continue to make curatorial choices based on our feminist mission. While we will always endeavor to be good members of and partners to the Agnes Scott College community, neither the store nor the Circle will be directly governed by the Agnes Scott College board of trustees. Our committment is, first and foremost, to be good stewards of the history, values, and vision people throughout the world have imbued in Charis through the years.

  • When will Charis at Agnes Scott College open at its new location?

We are working to get a firm date and will publicize that as soon as we have passed our permitting, fire safety check, and other final checks. We anticipate we will be open by April 1st at the latest.

  • When is the Little Five Points location of Charis Books and More moving?

We hope to make the move as seamless as possible and will close our Little Five Points location as we open our new location at Agnes Scott College.

  • What is happening with Charis Circle programming between the January 1, 2019 and April 1, 2019?

The majority of our regular groups and events like Trans and Friends, The Black Feminist Book Club, Cliterati, Yoga and the Kidliterate Book Club will meet in January 2019. In February and March 2019 our regular monthly groups will take a hiatus and we will only host already scheduled special author events. Most of these will be offsite but a few will continue to be held at 1189 Euclid Ave. NE Atlanta, GA 30307. If you are confused about when or where an event is, please check www.charisbooksandmore.com or call 404-524-0304 for up to date information.

  • Where will Charis at Agnes Scott College be located?

Charis will be located at 184 South Candler Street, on the left side of the street if you are coming from downtown Decatur. We are across the street from what many people think of as the “main campus,” on the corner of the Candler parking lot. There is a crosswalk that connects us to the contiguous campus. See campus map.

  • Where do I park?

Ample parking is available behind the building in the main lot and two large van accessible spots will be directly behind the building within a few feet of the ramp. Additional accessible spaces are also in our main parking lot.

  • What MARTA bus route or station do I use?

The Number 15 Bus Route (Candler Rd/South DeKalb) MARTA runs right in front of our new building. The Decatur MARTA train station is .5 miles from our store and is a well-lit, walk or ride. We have traversed the route in a power wheelchair and found that while the city has some improvements it could make to the sidewalks, the route to and from the store is accessible to people who use power wheelchairs and to people who use manual wheelchairs. If you are using MARTA and are assisting someone using a manual chair, there are a few places where the sidewalks are challenging to push over from behind.   

  • How is the building accessible?

We have been working with community and professional accessibility consultants to help make the new Charis space as functional and beautifully accessible as possible for all members of our community. Our new space has two fully accessible bathrooms with changing tables. There is a new ramp to the front entrance from van accessible parking along with an easy access path to additional accessible parking. The interior fixtures, lighting, and materials have all been chosen for their low environmental and chemical impact and their ease of use. There is an interior ramp connecting the main bookstore space to the programming area. The interior shelves will be on wheels so that the space will be as modular as possible, allowing optimal flexibility for all of our community members’ needs. Our committment to disability justice means we also anticpate and welcome feedback once we are all in the space together and figuring out what works best for all kinds of bodies. 

  • Why is the renovation taking so long?

This renovation has been a true community effort. The college, our wonderful architect and contractor, and our staff and volunteers, have all worked with us to do this right and to make sure that we have a beautiful, functional building that will last for generations to come. We are learning as we go and have encountered all the obstacles you might expect when renovating a more than 100 year old building, but we know it will all be worth it once we get in there!

  • How will Charis Circle programming change?

With the addition of the dedicated programming and meeting space, we hope to offer many more daytime events, meetings, and community gathering opportunities. We will also partner with Agnes Scott College to expand the roster of speakers they bring to the campus and to expand the diversity of speakers we bring to the store.

  • How will the book selection change?

The bookstore will remain independent and will continue to make curatorial decisions based on our feminist mission. In addition we will carry books by and for members of the Agnes Scott College community. Students will purchase their textbooks online from Follett. We will continue to special order any book you need and will continue our E-book partnerships with Kobo and our audiobook partnerships with Libro.FM. You can order books 24/7/365 from www.charisbooksandmore.com.

  • What college related items will Charis at Agnes Scott College sell in addition to books?

Charis at Agnes Scott College will carry most items provided in the current campus bookstore, with the exception of textbooks. Featured items will include official Agnes Scott College-branded merchandise and clothing, toiletries, school supplies, snacks and drinks.

  • I am a student/faculty/staff member/alumnae will Charis carry my book?

Charis at Agnes Scott College is excited to highlight the literary and scholarly achievements of Agnes Scott College community members! Please visit Charis Books and More and follow the instructions under the FAQ tab to get in touch!

  • I am planning an event on the Agnes Scott College campus with an author, will you bring books to sell at my event?

Please reach out to info@charisbooksandmore.com as you are planning your author/speaker events. We are excited to bring books anywhere on campus and to partner with students, faculty, staff and alumnae. 

  • Will there be a coffee shop?

No, but we will be offering a diverse array of snacks and drinks available for purchase and plan to partner with independent coffee shops to bring coffee carts into the space periodically.

  • What will happen to the current Charis building at 1189 Euclid Ave. in Little Five Points?

When we sold the building in 2016, we sought someone who would love it as much as we have and who ideally would not alter the character or charm of our longtime home. We hope that whatever the current owner decides to do after we leave will continue to be in line with the spirit of Little Five Points and of Charis, but we also know that we cannot control what happens to the building when we are no longer tenants.

  • Will the new location still feel like “my Charis?”

We sure hope so! We have received so much wonderful and important guiding feedback from the community, and we have incorporated that into the design of this space. We are looking forward to growing into the space with you and with the Agnes Scott College community. It seems fitting to embark on a landmark birthday, our 45th year, in a new home, with renewed energy and excitement. We can’t wait to celebrate with you!

  • I want to volunteer at Charis or help with the move how can I do that?

We are still figuring out just what kind of help we will need. We know we will need a diverse set of skills. We will need some people who are good at sitting and checking things off lists and some people who are good at moving heavy things. We need detail oriented people and people who just like to show up and be told what to do! We will need help on weekdays and weekends and during the day and in the evenings. If you are interested in helping please email info@charisbooksandmore.com and we will add you to our list to contact when we have a concrete idea of what we will need.

  • I want to donate money, stock, or items to help with the new building or include Charis Circle in my planned giving/estate planning how can I do that?

Thank you! To make a tax-deductible donation via credit card, please visit chariscircle.org. To make an in-kind donation or a gift of stock, please email eranderson@chariscircle.org

I want to stay informed about farewells to Little Five Points, the grand opening at 184 South Candler, and the timeline of the move, how can I do that?

Please join our email list here.  Please email us directly at info@charisbooksandmore.com with any questions.