Connect troubled teens with the power of reading

Contact: Angela Thullen
Program Officer, Communications
312-280-5286
athullen@ala.org

For Immediate Release
September 1, 2009

Apply by Nov. 2 to receive a Great Stories CLUB reading and discussion program grant

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) are now accepting applications for the next round of Great Stories CLUB grants. Electronic applications for the reading and discussion series will be accepted through Nov. 2 at www.ala.org/greatstories . Funding was provided for this program by Oprah's Angel Network.Â

The Great Stories CLUB (Connecting Libraries, Underserved teens and Books) is a book club program designed to reach underserved, troubled teen populations through books that are relevant to their lives. Feedback from libraries that have held past Great Stories CLUB reading and discussion series has been consistently positive:

  • Â “Students had an overwhelmingly positive response to the program. For several of the students this was the first novel they had ever read in its entirety.” - Highland High School, Albuquerque, N.M. (partnered with Teenagers Encountering and Embracing New Solutions (T.E.E.N.S.), a Title I funded program that provides support to homeless adolescents)
  • “The importance of being able to offer something that the resident can choose to participate in and keep after the program ends cannot be underestimated in a facility where residents don’t wear their own clothes, or choose when and what they eat.” - Platte Valley Youth Service Center Library, Greeley, Colo.
  • “…working with the boys continues to be one of the most rewarding experiences of our careers. It is remarkable to listen to these young men share their insights, feelings and experiences as we discuss a book. We have watched them become active library users and we hope that they will continue to see the value and importance of libraries throughout their lives.” - Vernon Area Public Library, Lincolnshire, Ill. (partnered with Depke Juvenile Justice Complex)

All types of libraries (public, school, academic and special) located within or working in partnership with facilities serving troubled teens in the United States and its territories are eligible to apply for a Great Stories CLUB grant. Potential organizations for Great Stories CLUB partnership include juvenile justice facilities, drug rehabilitation centers, nonprofits serving teen parents, alternative high schools, agencies serving teenaged foster children, shelters serving homeless and runaway youth and other agencies. For tips on creating a partnership, visit www.ala.org/greatstories .

Following the application process, 265 libraries will be selected to develop a book discussion program for troubled teens based on the three theme-related titles and will be given copies of the books to share with participants. Participating libraries will also receive access to an online toolkit to support the program, including sample discussion questions, recommended titles for further reading and other resources. Small cash grants ($100-$200) will be awarded to up to 50 sites for the support of program-related expenses.

For more information on the Great Stories CLUB, including guidelines, book titles and descriptions, application instructions and feedback from past participants, visit www.ala.org/greatstories .Â

Established in 1992, the ALA Public Programs Office has an exemplary 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® and other programs. Through grant opportunities and library programming initiatives, the ALA Public Programs Office provides the essential resources, funding, visibility and framework needed for libraries to conduct high-quality cultural programming.  For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit www.ala.org/publicprograms .

For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audiobooks for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists , or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail, yalsa@ala.org .

Oprah’s Angel Network works around the globe to give people the chance to live their best lives. The Angel Network is a public charity that awards grants to organizations that are improving access to education, protecting basic rights, creating communities of support and developing the leaders of tomorrow. To learn more about Oprah’s Angel Network visit: www.oprahsangelnetwork.org .Â