ALA invites libraries to apply for Great Stories Club Grants for teens

For Immediate Release
Wed, 01/18/2023


Hannah Arata

Communications Specialist

Public Programs Office

American Library Association

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) invites library workers to apply for ALA’s Great Stories Club (GSC), a thematic reading and discussion program that engages teens who are facing difficult challenges through literature-based library outreach programs.

Visit the project guidelines and apply online by March 29, 2023.

ALA will distribute implementation grants to 100 libraries to host GSC programming on two themes: “Deeper Than Our Skins: The Present Is a Conversation with the Past” and “Finding Your Voice: Speaking Truth to Power.” These themes, created by scholars Maria Sachiko Cecire and Susana M. Morris, will feature books that explore questions of race, equity, identity and history.

For each theme, ALA will award up to 50 grants to eligible institutions. Up to 50 libraries will be selected to receive a "Deeper Than Our Skins" grant, and up to 50 libraries will be selected to receive a "Finding Your Voice" grant.

Applications will be accepted from all types of libraries (public, school, academic, and special) in the United States and its territories that meet one of the following criteria:

  • The applicant library is located within an organization that reaches underserved, under-resourced and/or at-risk teens (e.g., alternative high school, juvenile detention facility, tribal library).


  • The applicant library is working with a partner organization that reaches underserved, under-resourced, and/or at-risk teens. Possible partner organizations include but are not limited to juvenile justice facilities, drug/alcohol rehabilitation centers, nonprofits serving teen parents, alternative high schools, agencies serving teenaged foster children and shelters serving young adults and families experiencing homelessness.

Selected libraries will receive 11 paperback copies of theme-related books to use in the reading and discussion groups as well as a $500 programming stipend, online training, an array of program resources and support throughout the grant term.

Participating libraries will work with small groups of approximately 10 teens; provide up to four theme-related books for each participant to keep as their own and convene opportunities for exploration and discussion of relevant humanities content among peers. Book discussions will be led by an experienced programming librarian, often in cooperation with staff from a partner organization or department, such as teachers and counselors.

Libraries selected for a “Deeper than Our Skins” grant may choose up to four books from the following reading list:

  • “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • “The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano” by Sonia Manzano
  • “Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices,” edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale
  • “The Shadow Hero” by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Sonny Liew
  • “Mother of the Sea” by Zetta Elliott
  • “Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.” by Luis J. Rodriguez

Libraries selected for a “Finding Your Voice” grant may choose up to four books from the following reading list:

  • “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • “I Am Alfonso Jones” by Tony Medina
  • “Gabi, A Girl in Pieces” by Isabel Quintero
  • “Piecing Me Together” by Renée Watson
  • “American Street” by Ibi Zoboi
  • “Anger is a Gift” by Mark Oshiro

Because the Great Stories Club seeks to engage libraries in different areas of the country, serving high-need and diverse groups of teen readers, ALA invites interested librarians to get in touch if there is a specific need for flexibility with the program model or requirements.

Implementation of both series is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. To be alerted about future offerings from ALA’s Public Programs Office, sign up to receive ALA's Programming Librarian e-newsletter.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit