Great Stories CLUB now accepting applications

Connect troubled teens with the power of reading with a Great Stories CLUB reading and discussion series. The ALA Public Programs Office and YALSA are now accepting online applications through November 2 for the next round of Great Stories CLUB grants at Funding was provided for this program by Oprah’s Angel Network.

The Great Stories CLUB (Connecting Libraries, Underserved teens and Books) is a book club program designed to reach underserved, troubled teen populations through books that are relevant to their lives. Feedback from libraries that have held past Great Stories CLUB reading and discussion series has been consistently positive:

• “Students had an overwhelmingly positive response to the program. For several of the students this was the first novel they had ever read in its entirety.” – Highland High School, Albuquerque, N.M. (partnered with Teenagers Encountering and Embracing New Solutions (T.E.E.N.S.), a Title I funded program that provides support to homeless adolescents)
• “The importance of being able to offer something that the resident can choose to participate in and keep after the program ends cannot be underestimated in a facility where residents don’t wear their own clothes, or choose when and what they eat.” – Platte Valley Youth Service Center Library, Greeley, Colo.
• “…working with the boys continues to be one of the most rewarding experiences of our careers. It is remarkable to listen to these young men share their insights, feelings and experiences as we discuss a book. We have watched them become active library users and we hope that they will continue to see the value and importance of libraries throughout their lives.” – Vernon Area Public Library, Lincolnshire, Ill. (partnered with Depke Juvenile Justice Complex)

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 partnership 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 troubled teens based on the three theme-related titles and will be given copies of the books to share with participants. 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 up to 50 sites for the support of program-related expenses.

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

History of the Newbery and Children with disabilities in the library are topics of fall ALSC online courses

This fall the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is offering two engaging online education courses, including: The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future and Children with Disabilities in the Library. Registration is now open, and courses run Oct. 5 though Nov. 13, 2009. Check-out the ALSC Blog for past participant experiences (

The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future discusses different aspects of the award, the history of the medal and how it’s changed over time. Participants are given an opportunity to read, discuss and consider past and present Newbery winners with their colleagues from across the nation. The instructor of the course is Kathleen T. Horning, director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Children with Disabilities in the Library will discuss the individual needs of disabled children and how libraries might be able to assist each child. This course will look at inclusive programming, assistive technologies, staff attitudes and legal considerations. Participants will collaboratively develop strategies for determining needs and identify resources that can be consulted when a child requires help. The instructor of the course is Katherine Todd, adjunct instructor at Manhattanville (N.Y.) College.

Courses are taught asynchronously using Moodle (, an online learning community. A certificate of completion will be sent to participants upon successful completion of the course. Detailed descriptions and course registration information is available on the ALSC Web site at Fees are $95 for personal ALSC members; $145 for personal ALA members; and $165 for non-members.

Questions about this or other ALSC events should be directed to Jenny Najduch, ALSC marketing specialist at or 312-280-4026.