For immediate release | July 3, 2013

American Library Association Black Caucus unveils Reading is Grand! Celebrating Grand-Families

Telling Our Stories @ Your Library grant winners

CHICAGO - During the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibition, June 27 – July 2, Jerome Offord Jr., president of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), has announced four libraries as recipients of the 2013 Reading Is Grand! Celebrating Grand-Families Telling Our Stories @ Your Library grant. The program is a celebration of the important role grandparents play in the lives of children. It is through their infinite wisdom and experience that children learn the unique cultural and familial values that help them grow into valuable contributors to the community.

The winning grant libraries were selected based on the level of creativity and originality in meeting the program criteria, their action plan, level of involvement of grandparents in the activities and impact of the program in the community.

The four winning libraries include: Bridgeport Public Library in Bridgeport, Conn.; Friends of Oxon Hill Library in Oxon Hill, Md.; Inglewood Public Library in Inglewood, Calif.; and Forsyth County Public Library, in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The four winning libraries are:

Bridgeport Public Library, Black Rock Branch, Bridgeport, Conn.

The library’s Reading Is Grand! program will give grandparents raising their grandchildren opportunities to celebrate African American culture through books, stories, music activities and food. The goal is to encourage grandparents to make the library a partner in their family odyssey. The program will consist of six Reading Is Grand! sessions with various themes, which include African American Music that Brings Us Together; Our Family Stories: Stories from our Families; African American Folklore and Stories; and much more. The monthly programs will be held beginning October 2013 through March 2014.

Forsyth County Public Library, Malloy Jordan East Winston Heritage Center, Winston-Salem, N.C.

The library will present three programs that demonstrate literacy development skills; encourage reading; promote access to books and library use; and provide a forum for embracing culture, history and lifelong learning for grandparents within the community. The first program is ALA’s preschool literacy development training, Every Child Ready to Read program, which will demonstrate to grandparents how to select and share books (and etc.) for preschool literacy development. The second program is Family Book Clubs, which will be designed to show how to share and discuss books with their grandchildren. The third and final program is a Storytelling Festival, where grandparents will showcase their learned skills and record their stories. Copies of the recorded stories will be available for checkout at the library. (Note: The library will partner with local members of the National Association of Black Storytellers, who will give participants two half-day workshops on storytelling techniques prior to the Festival).

Friends of Oxon Hill Library, Oxon Hill, Md.

In conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, the Oxon Hill Library will present a Reading Is Grand! program for middle school students and their grandparents to share their thoughts and memories of this historic event. Local authors will share Civil Rights stories with grandparent. The greatest benefits of this program will be the student’s exposure to new books in the Oxon Hill Library’s African American collection and the students’ knowledge of history through grandparent stories.

Inglewood Public Library, Main Branch, Inglewood, Calif.

The Reading Is Grand! Program will consist of three different components that address the need for increased family literacy programs. The first program, in conjunction with Grandparents’ Day, is the “Reading Is Grand Grandparents Memory Book Project.” The project provides a way for children to realize and learn how important it is to record the stories and thoughts of their grandparents. Activities will include grandparent/grandchild-sharing stories, creating a scrapbook through interviews and taking a photo for the memory book. The second program will be a Literacy Workshop led by an award-winning actress and storyteller. The third and final program will be a Reading Is Grand! Art Program.

Each grant-winning library will receive $500 to supplement their Reading Is Grand! program. Funds may be used to purchase books, supplies and/or activities for their program based upon their use of creativity and originality.

The program was originated by ALA Past-president Dr. Camila Alire, who launched the Family Literacy Focus, an initiative to encourage families in ethnically diverse communities to read and learn together in 2010.

The 2013 Reading is Grand! Celebrating Grand-Families @ Your Library selection committee includes Chair Dr. Claudette S. McLinn, executive director, Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature, Inglewood, Calif.; Carolyn Garnes, library consultant, Atlanta; Karen Lemmons, library media specialist, Detroit; and Jerome Offord, President, BCALA.


The Black Caucus of the American Library Association serves as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation's African American community; and provides leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American librarians.


Claudette S. McLinn

Chair, Reading Is Grand!