ALA announces 50 libraries to receive Great Stories Club programming grants for at-risk youth

For Immediate Release
Thu, 10/01/2015


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office


CHICAGO – Fifty libraries have been selected to receive training and support to host book club programs on a theme of “media, resistance and revolution” with at-risk youth, the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office announced.

The 2015 grantees represent 43 public libraries, three school libraries and four libraries located within youth detention facilities. View a full list of grantees.

Created in 2006, the Great Stories Club strives to introduce young adults to accessible and thought-provoking literature selected by humanities scholars to resonate with reluctant readers struggling with complex issues like incarceration, violence and poverty.

Working with small groups of six to ten teens, grantees will host reading and discussion events for each of three selected book titles. The theme for the current round of grants is “Hack the Feed: Media, Resistance, Revolution,” and the books are “Feed” by M.T. Anderson, “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins and “March: Books One” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. The book club meetings will take place between Jan. 1 and May 30, 2016.

Grantees will receive 11 paperback copies of each of the three book selections (10 to gift to participants; one for discussion leader/library collection); travel and accommodation expenses paid for attendance at the project orientation workshop in Chicago; and other resources and support.

Lewis & Clark Library in Helena, Montana, will partner with the Jan Shaw Home for Girls to provide teens the opportunity to talk about media, society and personal responsibility, as well as a spoken word workshop, slam poetry competition and zine-making project.

“Much of our work is helping to put young adults in the driver’s seat of their lives by providing resources, materials, people, connections and opportunities,” said Teen Services Librarian Heather Dickerson. “If our girls leave Great Stories Club with a kernel of a new idea and the ability to talk about that idea, we’ll have found success, because that means they have connected with great literature – and their library – in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their lives.”

Two additional rounds of Great Stories Club grants are expected to be awarded in 2016 and 2017 with the themes of “The Art of Change: Creation, Growth and Transformation” and “Nature vs. Nurture: Origins of Teen Violence and Suicide.” Libraries may participate in more than one round but must apply separately for each. (When available, information about those grant offerings will be available on To receive bi-monthly email notices about new grants, sign up for the Programming Librarian e-newsletter.)

The grant will be administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office in partnership with the Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA), including the Library Services for Youth in Custody and Library Services to the Incarcerated and Detained interest groups. The Great Stories Club has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence.

Since its creation, ALA’s Great Stories Club has reached 670 libraries in 49 states and more than 30,000 young adults (ages 12 to 21).

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

About ALA’s Public Programs Office

ALA’s Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training and networking opportunities that help thousands of librarians nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to promote cultural programming as an essential part of library service in all types of libraries. Projects include book and film discussion series, literary and cultural programs featuring authors and artists, professional development opportunities and traveling exhibitions. School, public, academic and special libraries nationwide benefit from the office’s programming initiatives.

About the Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies

The Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) is the premiere destination for ALA members to find information and build capacity to serve populations that are served by state library agencies, specialized libraries, library cooperatives and library consultants. ASCLA enhances the effectiveness of library service by advocating for and providing high quality networking, enrichment and educational opportunities for its diverse members, who represent state library agencies, libraries serving special populations, library cooperatives, and library consultants. Please visit our website at

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at