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Great Stories Club

About

Organized by the American Library Association (ALA), the Great Stories Club is a reading and discussion program that targets underserved, troubled teen populations.

From 2006 to 2012, ALA made more than 1,000 grants to libraries for program implementation with funding from Oprah’s Angel Network. Five theme-based series were offered: Facing Challenges, Choices, Breaking Boundaries, New Horizons, and Second Chances.

In 2015, the ALA Public Programs Office received a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support three new rounds of Great Stories Club grants for libraries:

The GSC is a three-part, thematic reading and discussion program series developed to engage at-risk teens and other underserved audiences through literature-based library outreach programs. With support from NEH, GSC programs will:

  • introduce more than 8,000 young adults facing difficult circumstances to accessible and appealing literature selected by humanities scholars with a special interest in reaching the underserved;
  • facilitate in-depth exploration of humanities themes likely to resonate with reluctant readers who are struggling with complex issues like incarceration, violence, poverty, and addiction; and
  • connect participants to ALA’s highly successful national program model.

Over the two-year project, readers and local project directors alike will explore these themes of civic engagement in an age of corporate media, the role of creative arts in dealing with change and transformation, and the origins of teenage violence and suicide through novels, memoirs, and non-fiction books, as well as training opportunities developed by a team of humanities scholars and programming librarians.

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