ALA receives $300,000 from Oprah's Angel Network for continuation and expansion of Great Stories Club

Contact: Lainie Castle
Public Programs Office

For Immediate Release
November 6, 2007

ALA receives $300,000 from Oprah's Angel Network for continuation and expansion of Great Stories Club

CHICAGO - Oprah's Angel Network awarded $300,000 to the American Library Association (ALA), continuing its support of the Great Stories Club, a national reading and discussion program launched in 2005 with an Oprah's Angel Network Book Club Award.

The Great Stories Club, a reading and discussion program specifically targeting at-risk teens, is a project of the ALA Public Programs Office (PPO), in cooperation with the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of ALA.  The program was established to reach teens through books that are relevant to their lives, inviting them to read and keep the books and encouraging them to consider and discuss each title with a group of their peers.  Its ultimate goal is to inspire young adults who face difficult situations to take control of their lives by embracing the power of reading. The program is built on partnerships between libraries and a variety of organizations that serve troubled teens, including juvenile justice facilities, alternative high schools, drug rehabilitation centers, nonprofits serving teen parents, and other agencies.

To date, the Great Stories Club program has reached more than 7,000 teens through nearly 200 libraries. New funding from Oprah's Angel Network will allow the program to continue for the next three years, reaching 700 libraries and distributing more than 20,000 new books to teens.

"We're pleased to provide additional funding to the ALA Great Stories Club," said Caren Yanis, Executive Director of Oprah's Angel Network. "We're inspired that this program not only provides meaningful books to at-risk and underserved youth, but also that it addresses the importance of creating opportunities for these young people to share and discuss their own stories with their peers. As a result of this program, we look forward to seeing many more young people positively impacted by their involvement with reading and libraries."

"After the first round of Great Stories Club programs, ALA received wonderful feedback from participating librarians and teens alike," said ALA President Loriene Roy. "Many teens owned or read a book from cover to cover for the first time because of this program. ALA is proud to offer libraries this special opportunity to create new community partnerships and provide service to an overlooked, under-resourced group of young readers through the Great Stories Club. We are very grateful to Oprah's Angel Network for generously providing support to expand this important program."

The additional funds provided by Oprah's Angel Network will go toward providing Great Stories Club books and instructional resources to a greater number of selected libraries annually, as well as small cash grants to select sites for the support of program-related expenses.  Book selections, theme and program support materials will be developed by YALSA's Outreach to Young Adults with Special Needs Committee.

The 2008 theme, book titles and online application will be available at, beginning December 3, 2007.  Selected libraries will develop a book discussion program for teens based on three theme-related titles and will be given copies of the books to share with each participant.  Participating libraries will also receive access to an online toolkit to support the program, including sample discussion questions, recommended titles for further reading, downloadable bookmark art and other resources.

For 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos, and audio books for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390 or e-mail:

Established in 1992, the ALA Public Programs Office has a strong track record of developing library programming initiatives, including the acclaimed reading and discussion series "Let's Talk About It," film discussion programs on humanities themes, traveling exhibitions, LIVE! @ your library(r) and other programs.  Recently, it established the Cultural Communities Fund, an endowment created to help all types of libraries across the country bring communities together through cultural programming (  Each year, more than 3,000 libraries and at least 2 million individuals participate in library programming initiatives supported by the Public Programs Office.  For more information about PPO, please visit