Libraries invited to apply for 2016 Great Stories Club programming grants for at-risk teens

For Immediate Release
Wed, 02/17/2016


Sarah Ostman
Communications Manager
ALA Public Programs Office

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office invites libraries to apply for the Great Stories Club, a reading and discussion program for at-risk teens featuring books under the theme “The Art of Change: Creation, Growth and Transformation.” The project is supported with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Working with small groups of six to 10 teens, grantees will host reading and discussion events for each of three selected book titles. The titles — selected in consultation with librarian advisors and humanities scholars — 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 75 grants will be awarded.

Visit for full guidelines and to apply online. Applications are due April 15.

Featured titles for the 2016 “Art of Change” theme include protagonists who move forward toward positive change by, among other factors, their involvement in the creative arts. Books include “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie; “The Complete Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi; and “Buck: A Memoir” by M.K. Asante.

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 a one-day project orientation workshop for the library project directors, held during the 2016 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibitions in Orlando, Florida (June 23-26, 2016)
  • training through periodic project webinars, a program planning guide and other online support materials;
  • online access to professionally designed, customizable and downloadable resources for use with program participants; and
  • technical and programming support from the ALA Public Programs Office throughout the grant term.

Programs that support the “Art of Change” theme must take place between Aug. 1 and December 31, 2016. Another round of Great Stories Club grants will be offered in 2017 with the theme “Nature vs. Nurture: Origins of Teen Violence and Suicide.” Libraries may participate in more than one round but must apply separately for each.

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.

First offered as a pilot in 2006, ALA’s Great Stories Club has reached more than 700 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