The Great Stories Club is a library-led book club model that gives underserved youth facing significant challenges the opportunity to read, reflect, and share ideas on topics that resonate with them.
Created in 2006 by the American Library Association (ALA), the Great Stories Club has reached more than 700 libraries in 49 states and more than 30,000 young adults (ages 13 to 21). Great Stories Club programs are conducted by libraries working in partnership with juvenile justice facilities, alternative schools, residential treatment facilities, group homes, and other community service organizations.
Since its inception, the Great Stories Club has received funding from Oprah’s Angel Network, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Great Stories Club themes and titles are selected by librarians and humanities scholars to resonate with reluctant readers facing personal challenges like detention, incarceration, addiction, academic probation, poverty, and homelessness. Previous themes have included:
Each theme offers programming resources for use in reading and discussion programs, including customizable promotional materials, reading lists, discussion questions, and essays that introduce 11 past GSC themed series. These resources are freely available to all libraries; you can access them in the Resources section of our website.
Libraries that participate in the Great Stories Club receive paperback copies of theme-related books to use in reading and discussion groups; programming support materials; and online or in-person training. Training includes an exploration of the humanities content of the book collection, programming tips and ideas, and expert and peer support. All types of U.S. libraries located within, or working in partnership with, an organization that serves at-risk youth are eligible to apply.
In late 2017, ALA announced a new Great Stories Club project with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Great Stories Club (TRHT GSC) will connect the Great Stories Club model to the Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation efforts.
If you would like to be informed about upcoming Great Stories Club grants, please sign up for the Programming Librarian e-newsletter.