For immediate release | July 5, 2011

ALA receives NEA Access to Artistic Excellence grant to support Great Stories Club author tour

Author visits will target teens in juvenile detention centers

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) announced that the Great Stories Club, a reading and discussion program for at-risk teens, was selected for an Access to Artistic Excellence grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The NEA grant will facilitate author visits to select libraries that are participating in the current Great Stories Club program, which focuses on the theme “Second Chances.”

Beginning this summer, authors Walter Dean Myers (“Dope Sick,” Amistad, 2009), Coert Voorhees (“The Brothers Torres,” Hyperion, 2009) and Jennifer Brown (“Hate List,” Little, Brown Books, 2009) will visit Great Stories CLUB reading and discussion groups hosted by the following sites:

  • Tecumseh Public Library, partnering with the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center, in Tecumseh, Okla.
  • Mabel C. Fry Public Library, partnering with the Gary E. Miller Canadian County Children's Justice Center, in Yukon, Okla.
  • Austin Public Library, partnering with Gardner Betts Juvenile Justice Center, in Austin, Texas
  • Lafayette Public Library, partnering with Lafayette Juvenile Detention, in Lafayette, La.
  • Ouachita Parish Public Library, partnering with the Green Oaks Juvenile Detention Center, in Monroe, La.
  • Passages Academy Library, Horizon Juvenile Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Launched in 2005, 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. Libraries located within or partnering with organizations that serve at-risk teens are eligible to participate in the Great Stories Club. Since 2005, more than 33,000 books have been distributed to nearly one thousand Great Stories Clubs, sparking conversations among teen readers in 49 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, including resources from past rounds of the Great Stories Club, visit

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included the “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, LIVE! @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit

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, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail,

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at


Angela Thullen