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Great Stories Club

ALA Great Stories Club Application Guidelines for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Series

RECEIPT DEADLINE: Friday, November 16, 2018, 11:59 p.m. CST
Date posted: Tuesday, September 5, 2018

Questions? Contact the American Library Association (ALA) staff at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045, or publicprograms@ala.org.

I. Program Description

The ALA Great Stories Club is a thematic reading and discussion program that engages teens who are facing difficult challenges through literature-based library outreach programs. An expansion of ALA's long-standing Great Stories Club program model, the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) series will feature books that explore questions of race, equity, identity, and history, and support racial healing sessions with participating libraries, their community partners, and their teen readers. Both TRHT series — "Deeper Than Our Skins" and "Finding Your Voice" — are supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

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; convene opportunities for exploration and discussion of relevant humanities content among peers; and offer at least one interactive session for program conveners and participants led by a racial healing practitioner(s). 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.

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.

The goals of the Great Stories Club and its TRHT series are to:

  • provide specialized library outreach programming to underserved youth, particularly those who are engaged with alternative education programs, the juvenile justice system, residential treatment programs, and other social service organizations in their community;
  • connect participating youth with powerful works of young adult literature that will facilitate personal exploration of and group discussions about issues of racial and ethnic identity, racism and equity;
  • provide opportunities for all program participants — youth, library staff, and community partner organization staff — to connect with racial healing practitioners through interactive sessions that will encourage participants to tell their stories, listen deeply to the stories of others, and begin building the trust needed for courageous dialogue, generative action, and community transformation and healing;
  • inspire teens to consider "big questions" about the world around them and their place in it, affecting how they view themselves as thinkers, creators, and contributors; and
  • facilitate reflection and discussion of future opportunities for positive change that will help all people recognize one another's humanity and value, inspired by the readings and activities.

The project also seeks to make a positive impact at the institutional and community level by:

  • prioritizing specialized, literature-based library programming for underserved groups;
  • establishing new partnerships between public libraries and community and cultural organizations;
  • connecting community organizations to racial healing practitioners and engaging community coalitions that are part of the broader TRHT effort nationally;
  • connecting library staff with racial healing facilitator training and apprenticeship opportunities; and
  • providing a curated collection of literary programming resources for future use in exploring issues of race and equity.

For each themed series described in Section II below, ALA will award up to 35 Great Stories Club grants to eligible institutions around the country. Up to 35 libraries will be selected to receive a "Deeper Than Our Skins" grant, and up to 35 libraries will be selected to receive a "Finding Your Voice" grant. Up to 70 grants on the themes below will be awarded to eligible institutions around the country to support program implementation.

Participating sites will host at least one reading and discussion event for each of the selected titles on the reading list and at least one racial healing session led by an experienced racial healing practitioner or comparable expert. For more about recruiting a racial healing practitioner to work with your library's program, see the Resources page.

All Great Stories Club programs hosted as part of a TRHT series must take place between March 1—December 31, 2019.

II. Key Theme and Supporting Works

Applications will be accepted for the two Great Stories Club themes described below as part of the TRHT series. Libraries may apply to host one series during the 10-month project term, March 1—December 31, 2019.

"Deeper Than Our Skins: The Present is a Conversation with the Past"

Introduction by Maria Sachiko Cecire, Director of Experimental Humanities and Assistant Professor of Literature at Bard College

"The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." As a presidential candidate in 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama used these words to argue that we can only ever truly understand — and begin to overcome — the bitterness of modern race relations in the light of brave and accurate accounting of history. Obama's line is a slightly altered version of a quote from Southern author William Faulkner; in other words, he turned to literature as a source of wisdom about the difficult subject of race in America and built upon what he found there to imagine new pathways towards justice, healing, and unity.

"Deeper Than Our Skins" is grounded in literature that can help us look beneath the surface of racism in America to reveal how the past is alive in the present. This theme uses powerful stories of oppression, resistance, suffering, and triumph to identify the roots of racialized experience today and to inspire discussions around how to construct more equitable futures.

Through fiction, nonfiction, comics, poetry, short stories, and art, these works uncover the often-hidden histories of America's Native, enslaved, and immigrant communities. They offer points of connection that reach across time and cultures to affirm our shared humanity, while recognizing the importance of remembering and recounting unique origins and narratives. From Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me, written as a letter to his teenage son in the age of Black Lives Matter; to the intertwining of family secrets and Puerto Rican heritage in Sonia Manzano's novel about the 1969 youth-led uprising in Spanish Harlem; to the vibrant array of experiences, nations, and identities represented in the multimedia collection Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices, the works in "Deeper Than Our Skins" empower young people to use knowledge of the past to explore their own intersectional identities, empathize with others, and identify how they can be agents of racial healing and change in the world.

Reading list

Applicant libraries may select up to four books from the reading list below.
  • 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
  • "Finding Your Voice"

    Introduction by Susana M. Morris, Associate Professor of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology

    The old adage goes, "children should be seen and not heard." That conventional wisdom implies that speaking up and out is the exclusive realm of adults. It also suggests that young people don't have important things to say — that they should stay out of adult conversation.

    The truth is that young people have been vital to making change by speaking and showing up in the face of adversity. Take Joan of Arc, for example. In 1429, while just 18 years old, she led a French army to the besieged city of Orléans in a victory over the English. But we don't have to go back to 15th-century France to find young heroes. On November 14, 1960, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges became the first African American child to integrate a white Southern elementary school. Her mother and U.S. marshals had to escort young Ruby to class because of violent mobs in her hometown of New Orleans. Bridges was born the same year that Brown v. Board of Education made "separate but equal" public spaces illegal, and her bravery was a milestone in the Civil Rights movement.

    There are countless examples of young people taking a stand against injustice. "Finding Your Voice" includes texts that highlight the necessity and power of young people speaking up, despite challenges, social pressure, and even the threat of bigger dangers. Whether it is finding righteous anger as a superpower in Mark Oshiro's Anger is a Gift or speaking up through poetry and art as in Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X, "Finding Your Voice" features young people taking a stand against racism and other injustices in order to make the world a better place.

    Reading list

    Applicant libraries may select up to four books from the reading list below.

    • 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

    III. Award Information

    The ALA Public Programs Office will make up to 35 Great Stories Club grants for each of two themes above: "Deeper Than Our Skins" and "Finding Your Voice." Programming requirements appear below under Requirements for Grantees.

    IV. Benefits for Grant Recipients

    Recipients of a "Deeper Than Our Skins" grant will receive the following:

    • 11 paperback copies each (10 to gift to participants; 1 for discussion leader/library collection) of up to four books on the 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; and Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.by Luis J. Rodriguez.
    • A programming grant of up to $1,200 for payment of a racial healing practitioner(s) and other programmatic expenses (e.g., additional books, audiobooks, journals, art supplies, refreshments).
    • Travel and accommodation expenses paid for attendance at a two-day orientation workshop for library project directors, February 21-22, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. Training will include a thorough review of the humanities content of the series led by national project scholar Maria Sachiko Cecire, dialogue facilitation training led by consultants to Everyday Democracy, and participation in a racial healing circle facilitated by consultants to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
    • Additional training through periodic project webinars, a program planning guide, and other online support materials.
    • Online access to professionally designed, customizable, and downloadable resources for use with Great Stories Club program participants. Resources will include bookmarks, related reading brochures, discussion group sign-up sheets, certificates of completion, and promotional posters and flyers.
    • Technical and programming support from the ALA Public Programs Office throughout the grant term, including participation in an online discussion list for librarians and partner organization staff.

    Recipients of a "Finding Your Voice" grant will receive the following:

    • 11 paperback copies each (10 to gift to participants; 1 for discussion leader/library collection) of up to four books on the 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.
    • A programming grant of up to $1,200 for payment of a racial healing practitioner(s) and other programmatic expenses (e.g., additional books, audiobooks, journals, art supplies, refreshments).
    • Travel and accommodation expenses paid for attendance at a two-day orientation workshop for library project directors, March 7-8, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. Training will include a thorough review of the humanities content of the series led by national project scholar, Susana M. Morris, dialogue facilitation training led by consultants to Everyday Democracy, and participation in a racial healing circle facilitated by consultants to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
    • Additional training through periodic project webinars, a program planning guide, and other online support materials.
    • Online access to professionally designed, customizable, and downloadable resources for use with Great Stories Club program participants. Resources will include bookmarks, related reading brochures, discussion group sign-up sheets, certificates of completion, and promotional posters and flyers.
    • Technical and programming support from the ALA Public Programs Office throughout the grant term, including participation in an online discussion list for librarians and partner organization staff.

    V. Requirements for Grantees

    • Each library must implement the humanities-based book discussion programs and racial healing sessions described in their application (in cooperation with their program partner, if applicable).
    • Each library must hold a minimum of one discussion program for each book they select, with participation by at least 8-10 young adults.
    • Each library must work with an eligible racial healing practitioner, identified in their application, to convene at least one racial healing circle with teen participants. Library staff members who have participated in ALA- or WKKF-supported facilitator training are eligible to convene circles.
    • The library project director must attend the two-day workshop in Chicago to which they are assigned (February 21-22, 2019, for "Deeper Than Our Skins" grantees; March 7-8, 2019, for "Finding Your Voice" grantees).
    • Grantees must confirm their programming schedules with ALA by February 1, 2019.
    • Up to one copy of each book may be retained for use by the book discussion leader and one copy may remain in the library collection.
    • The libraries must supply the remaining books to participating teens to keep. The books will not revert to the library collection, but be a gift to the participants. Please contact ALA if there is an institutional barrier to this requirement.
    • The library must complete an online final report form by the January 31, 2020, deadline, or within 30 days of their last program, whichever comes first. Libraries will also be asked to participate in project evaluation activities, which will be led by Become, ALA's third-party evaluator.

    VI. Eligibility

    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), OR;
    • 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. For a list of national organizations that serve youth and may have local affiliates interested in forging a partnership, please visit the Resources page. Please contact publicprograms@ala.org if you have a question about partner eligibility.

    NOTE: Applications from public libraries, high school libraries, community college libraries, or others that are submitted without an appropriate partner organization MUST INCLUDE a plan to recruit a high-need teen population to be considered eligible. Please contact publicprograms@ala.org prior to applying if you feel that your circumstances merit special consideration or discussion.

    Individuals and organizations other than libraries are not eligible to apply. Late, incomplete, or ineligible applications will not be reviewed.

    VII. Application and Submission Information

    ALA will accept applications for the Great Stories Club themes "Deeper Than Our Skins" and "Finding Your Voice" from September 5 — November 16, 2018. Applicants may only apply to host one themed series and must make their selection within the online application. Please review the Frequently Asked Questions before filling out an application.

    Getting Started

    To begin the application process, go to the online application and complete the following steps:

    • Register for an account
    • Confirm your email address
    • Log in
    • Complete the application form
    • Project director information
    • Partner organization information, if applicable
    • Grant themes and book selection
    • Proposal Narrative
    • Affirm program schedule
    • Complete the project budget
    • Upload the library project director résumé
    • Upload the racial healing circle facilitator(s) résumé
    • Upload letters of commitment (optional)
    • Review and submit your application

    Register for an account

    PPO is using a new application system for this round of Great Stories Club grants. You will need to create a new account, even if you already have an account on https://apply.ala.org/.

    Go to the application site here: https://ala.smapply.io/prog/greatstories

    Click the Register link at the top of the screen. On the screen that follows, you may create an account using your email address, or if you prefer, using an existing Facebook, Google, or Twitter account.

    Confirm your email address

    You will receive an email from the SurveyMonkey Apply site asking you to confirm your email by clicking on a link. (If you do not see this message, please check your junk mail folder; if you still do not see it, please contact publicprograms@ala.org for assistance.)

    Log in

    At any time after creating your account, you can log in at https://ala.smapply.io/. After logging in, you can click View Programs on your account home page or navigate to https://ala.smapply.io/prog/greatstories to find the Great Stories Club materials. To begin your application, click the Apply button on the right-hand side of the page.

    Complete the application form

    On the next screen, you will see a list of the tasks that comprise your application: the application form, the upload form for your project director résumé, the upload form for your racial healing circle facilitator résumé, and optionally, an upload form for letters of commitment from your institution and/or community partner. Click Complete Application to start the application form.

    Project director information

    On the first screen, you will enter contact information for the person responsible for coordinating your Great Stories Club programming. They will be the primary point of contact for the project at the applicant library. Please be sure to include a shipping address for the applicant library, as all books and related materials will be shipped to the address provided for successful applicants.

    At the bottom of this screen, you will indicate whether you are working with a partner organization. As a reminder, applicant libraries must be located in an organization that reaches a specific underserved, under resourced, and/or at-risk teen population (e.g., alternative school, detention center), OR must work with a community partner to be considered eligible. For more, see Section VI (Eligibility) above.

    Partner organization information

    If you answered Yes to the previous question, you will be taken to a page to enter information on your partner organization.

    Grant themes and book selection

    On this page you will indicate which theme you are applying for, and which three or four books you would like to use in your programming.

    If ALA does not receive 70 eligible proposals for this round of grantmaking, interested applicants may be considered to receive a second grant to present an additional themed series during the 10-month grant term. If your library would like to be considered for a second grant should the opportunity arise, please indicate that at the bottom of this page.

    Proposal Narrative

    Before you compose the narrative section of this proposal, we strongly recommend that you read these guidelines carefully. If you do not, your proposal is unlikely to be competitive. Please answer each narrative section, describing your library's plans for hosting a Great Stories Club reading and discussion series. The proposal narrative consists of nine sections (described immediately below). Please note that each section of the narrative may not exceed 500 words. The narrative sections are as follows:

    1. Please tell us why you are interested in applying for Great Stories Club grant as part of the Truth, Racial Healing — Transformation (TRHT) series. Include why you believe the theme you've selected ("Deeper Than Our Skins" or "Finding Your Voice") will be meaningful to the individuals who participate in your programs; what teens and staff may gain from engaging in racial healing sessions; and what you hope to achieve for your library and your participants during the grant term. What will a successful series look like to you?
    2. In American history, there have been structural barriers to equal treatment and opportunity within the economic, legal, educational, and residential components of communities. Tell us about the current realities of race relations within your community and any local history that has led or contributed to these realities.
    3. Has your library offered any previous programming or engaged in any community efforts to address the current realities of race relations in your community? If so, please tell us about those activities and the impact they've had.
    4. If you are partnering with another organization, what is the nature of the partnership? Tell us about the work this organization does, why you have chosen to work with them, the history of the partnership, and anything else that will convey how you will work together on the program. If your library does not plan to work with a community partner to recruit teen participants for your Great Stories Club series, please clearly explain why teen readers in your general service area would benefit from engagement with this project and how you will gain their involvement with your program series. For example, ALA will consider proposals from school libraries that serve alternative classrooms, libraries that are part of a juvenile justice facility or department of corrections, tribal libraries, and public libraries in high-poverty communities.
    5. Describe your efforts to identify a racial healing practitioner for this project. Please tell us about the individual(s) who will lead at least one racial healing circle as part of your GSC program, how you connected with that person, and/or how library staff have been prepared to facilitate a circle (i.e., staff person has facilitated sessions as part of the TRHT GSC pilot program). Additionally, please tell us about the library project director’s interest in participating in ongoing professional development opportunities that focus on facilitator preparation training.
    6. Describe the population from which your Great Stories Club discussion group will be drawn. Include as much information as possible about the young adults who will participate in reading, discussion, and racial healing events, and describe how the group currently relates to reading (e.g., reading levels, interest in reading, access to similar programs). Tell us how you will invite or require teens to participate, how information about the program will be distributed, whether incentives like class credit will be used, and if there will be prerequisites such as behavioral or academic good standing.
    7. Please clearly describe your plan to implement the TRHT Great Stories Club. Important information to provide includes how books will be distributed, how often discussion groups and racial healing circles will convene (e.g., one program per title or multiple chapter-specific programs), how discussion group meetings will be structured (length of program, lead presenters or moderators, discussion format, additional activities), where programs will take place and if transportation is required, and anything else that will help reviewers understand your proposed series. As a reminder, grantees will be invited to refine these plans after attending the two-day orientation workshop.
    8. Describe how you will highlight and explore the ideas in this series. Beyond using the book-specific discussion points that will be provided by ALA, how will you encourage participants to think about the issues presented in the books, including concepts such as identity, cultural heritage, empathy, self-expression, institutional change, and justice? If activities, projects, assignments, field trips, or other materials (e.g., books, films, music) will be part of your programming, please describe them. Finally, please tell us about your plans to host a racial healing circle(s). Describe any opportunities that you see for including racial healing work and the knowledge/skills gained during the GSC grant term in future library/community efforts.
    9. How will you evaluate your Great Stories Club series? Please tell us how you will keep track of attendance information, evaluate your institution's work on the project overall, maintain key relationships with community partners in the future, and offer referral opportunities for underserved populations after the project's conclusion. Additional support for program evaluation will be offered during the two-day orientation workshop.

    Project Budget

    Using the table structure provided, include details about how you will spend your $1,200 programming grant to support the activities outlined in your proposal. This programming grant is intended to support your library's work with an eligible racial healing practitioner; however, some funds may also be used to provide refreshments for readers and to purchase additional copies of books/audiobooks and items such as journals, art supplies, DVDs, and other related program materials. Grant funds must not be used to support indirect costs (i.e., general administrative expenses).

    If your library will receive or provide additional support for your Great Stories Club programs (e.g., in-kind support in the form of speakers/presenters, books purchased by the library's Friends group), you may provide details in the optional "matching support" area. Matching support is not required.

    Program Schedule

    Use this page to affirm that you will provide ALA with a completed schedule of all programs your library will offer during the grant term (March — December 2019). Programming schedules must be submitted online following grant notification and will be due by March 1, 2019.

    Select Mark as Complete to move on.

    Upload your project director's résumé

    From the menu of tasks on the left side, select Project Director Résumé. Use the uploader to attach this file, and if applicable, the résumé of the lead contact person at your partner organization as well.

    Upload your racial healing circle facilitator's résumé

    From the menu of tasks on the left side, select Racial Healing Résumé. Use the uploader to attach this file. If the library's project director will serve as the racial healing circle facilitator as well, please re-upload that résumé here. Note that only librarians who have had previous training experience in TRHT-affiliated healing circle facilitation are eligible for this role.

    Upload letters of commitment (optional)

    If you have letters of commitment from your library administration, board, and/or community partner that you would like to share, you may attach them here. This upload is strictly optional.

    Certify Authorization to Submit Application

    An application to host a Great Stories Club series is an application for an award from the ALA. ALA is required by law to ask applicants to identify for each application a certifying official who is authorized to submit applications for funding on behalf of the organization.

    To complete this section, you must enter all of the information that is requested.

    Review and submit

    When you have completed these tasks, click the Review and Submit button to go over your work, and then click Submit at the bottom of that page. Note: if your application is not submitted, it will not be considered for the award. You will receive email confirmation for your submission.

    VIII. Application Review

    Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

    • Target audience appropriateness and need
    • Evidence of a workable and appropriate partnership (if applicable)
    • Inclusion of an eligible racial healing circle facilitator to work with your library and readers
    • Clarity and completeness of the application. Has the applicant supplied all required information, including all sections of the proposal narrative? Are plans and ideas for programs described clearly?
    • Quality and completeness of program description (including information about the target audience, plans to recruit participants, etc.)
    • The overall vision for the program series, including creative plans to engage participants with the theme(s), books, and related humanities content. How does this project relate to your community and your program participants?

    Another factor that may influence the final selection of libraries is the location of the sites. The selection team would like programs to take place in all regions of the country.

    Applicants are encouraged to address questions about the selection guidelines, process, and requirements to the ALA Public Programs Office at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045, or publicprograms@ala.org.

    IX. Review and Selection Process

    Each application will be peer reviewed by programming librarians and ALA project staff. Applicants will be notified of their award status on December 7, 2018.

    X. Award Administration Information

    • Application deadline: November 16, 2018
    • Grant notification: December 7, 2018
    • Book collections, promotional materials ship: January 22, 2019
    • "Deeper Than Our Skins" orientation workshop: February 21—22, 2019 in Chicago, IL
    • "Finding Your Voice" orientation workshop: March 7—8, 2019 in Chicago, IL
    • Programming period: March 1 — December 31, 2019
    • Required final report due: January 31, 2020, or within 30 days of final program (whichever comes first).

    XI. Point of Contact

    If you have questions about the program, contact:
    Public Programs Office
    American Library Association
    1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045
    publicprograms@ala.org

    To access the application system, sign in with your apply.ala.org profile.