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Great Stories Club

Grants to USA Libraries to Implement a Literature
Discussion Group for At-Risk Teens

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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American Library Association (ALA)

Deadline Date:

11/16/18 11:59 PM CST


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Grants of up to $1,200 and in-kind support to USA libraries to implement a literature-based reading and discussion program series to engage at-risk teens and other underserved audiences. Eligible programs for this year will explore issues related to equity, race, identity, and history.

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 sessions 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.

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 program participants 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.

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 is encouraged though not required to work with an eligible racial healing practitioner, identified in their application, to convene a racial healing circle(s) with teen participants. Library staff members who have participated in ALA- or WKKF-supported facilitator training are eligible to convene circles.

Grantee benefits include 11 paperback copies of up to four books on the reading list; a programming grant of up to $1,200; travel and accommodation expenses paid for attendance at a two-day orientation workshop in Chicago; and additional resources, training, and support from ALA's Public Programs Office.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 169161

Number of Grants:

Up to 70 libraries will be selected: Up to 35 libraries will be selected for both the "Deeper Than Our Skins" and "Finding Your Voice" series.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $1,200 and additional resources, training, and support.

Term of Contract:

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

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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 must be located within an organization that serves troubled or at-risk teens (e.g., an alternative high school, juvenile detention facility, residential treatment program), OR;

- The applicant library must work with a partner organization that serves troubled teens. Possible partner organizations include but are not limited to juvenile justice facilities, drug rehabilitation centers, nonprofits serving teen parents, alternative high schools, agencies serving teenaged foster children, and shelters serving homeless and runaway youth. Please email the funding source 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 email the funding source 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.

Pre-Application Information:


- Application deadline: November 16, 2018, 11:59 p.m. CST
- 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).

ALA invites interested librarians to get in touch if there is a specific need for flexibility with the program model or requirements.

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.




Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:
1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045

Librarians who have a specific need for flexibility with the requirements may contact

American Library Association
Public Programs Office
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming