ALA announces theme and titles for new round of Great Stories CLUB

Contact: Angela Thullen

ALA Public Programs Office

Program Officer, Communications


For Immediate Release

August 10, 2009

Book club program will target underserved, troubled teen populations

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) announced the theme and book titles for the next round of Great Stories CLUB grants. Electronic applications for the reading and discussion series will be accepted Sept. 1 through Nov. 2 at Funding was provided for this program by Oprah's Angel Network.

YALSA's Outreach to Young Adults with Special Needs Committee selected "New Horizons" as the Great Stories Club theme, along with the following titles:

  • “One of Those Hideous Books Where The Mother Dies” by Sonya Sones (Simon & Schuster, 2005)
  • “The Afterlife” by Gary Soto (Harcourt, 2005)
  • “The Rules of Survival” by Nancy Werlin (Speak, 2008)

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 relevant to their lives. All types of libraries (public, school, academic and special) located within or working in partnership with facilities serving troubled teens in the United States and its territories are eligible to apply for a Great Stories Club grant. Potential organizations for Great Stories CLUB partnerships include juvenile justice facilities, drug rehabilitation centers, nonprofits serving teen parents, alternative high schools, agencies serving teenaged foster children, shelters serving homeless and runaway youth and other agencies. For tips on creating a partnership, visit

Following the application process, 265 libraries will be selected to develop a book discussion program for teens based on the three theme-related titles and will be given copies of the books to share with each participant. Participating libraries will also receive access to an online toolkit to support the program, including sample discussion questions, recommended titles for further reading and other resources. Small cash grants ($100-$200) will be awarded to as many as 25 sites for the support of program-related expenses.

For more information on the Great Stories CLUB, including guidelines, book descriptions, application instructions and feedback from past participants, 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,

Established in 1992, the ALA Public Programs Office has an exemplary track record of developing library programming initiatives, including the acclaimed reading and discussion series "Let's Talk About It," film discussion programs on humanities themes, traveling exhibitions, LIVE! @ your library® and other programs. Through grant opportunities and library programming initiatives, the ALA Public Programs Office provides the essential resources, funding, visibility and framework needed for libraries to conduct high-quality cultural programming. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit

Oprah’s Angel Network works around the globe to give people the chance to live their best lives. The Angel Network is a public charity that awards grants to organizations that are improving access to education, protecting basic rights, creating communities of support and developing the leaders of tomorrow. To learn more about Oprah’s Angel Network visit: