ALA's Public Programs Office invites libraries to apply for the Great Stories Club, a reading and discussion program for underserved teens featuring books under the theme “Nature vs. Nurture: Origins of Teen Violence and Suicide.” The project is supported with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Working with small groups of 6 to 10 teens, grantees will host reading and discussion events for each of three selected book titles. The Great Stories Club titles — selected by humanities scholars in consultation with librarian advisors— are chosen to resonate with reluctant readers struggling with complex issues like incarceration, violence and poverty.
Eligible libraries are located within or working in partnership with organizations that serve at-risk youth, such as alternative high schools, juvenile justice organizations, homeless shelters, foster care agencies, teen parenting programs, residential treatment facilities and other nonprofit and community agencies. Up to 100 grants will be awarded.
For more information and tips for submitting a successful application, join ALA staff and past Great Stories Club grant recipients for a webinar, “Apply Now: ALA’s Great Stories Club,” at 2 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Register for the webinar.
Grantees will receive:
- 11 paperback copies of each of the three book selections (10 to gift to participants; 1 for discussion leader/library collection)
- Programming materials, including discussion guides, related reading lists, sample activities and promotional resources
- Training opportunities, including travel and accommodations for a 1-1/2-day orientation workshop in March 2017 for library project directors who are new to the Great Stories Club. (Those who have implemented a past Great Stories Club grant in 2015-16 will receive online training, and may also apply to attend the March workshop as space allows.)
- Programs that support the “Nature vs. Nurture” theme must take place between March and August 2017.
The current theme was developed by Laura Bates, professor of English at Indiana State University and author of “Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard” (2013, Sourcebooks). Advisory support is provided by Ally Dowds, technology librarian at the Boston Public Library, and Nosheen Hydari, AMFT, crisis therapist at Community Counseling Centers of Chicago.
First offered as a pilot in 2006, ALA’s Great Stories Club has reached 700 libraries in 49 states and more than 30,000 young adults (ages 12 to 21).