TADL receives Great Stories Club grant from the American Library Association

Grant will allow librarians to lead book clubs with underserved teens.


August 29, 2019 (Traverse City, Michigan) — The Traverse Area District Library (TADL) has been selected as one of 35 libraries nationwide to take part in the Great Stories Club, a reading and discussion program for underserved teens. This competitive grant is offered by the American Library Association (ALA) with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“This is our second year receiving this grant and we feel very fortunate. The books help students develop empathy for others and articulate their own stories,” said TADL Teen Services Coordinator Linda Smith. “Last school year, we had students who don’t generally participate in class actively delving into racial and societal issues when we discussed March by John Lewis. When we discussed Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman, the students suggested character motivations that the teachers and I hadn’t even considered.”

As part of the Great Stories Club series on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation, staff from TADL will work with teens at Traverse City High School to read and discuss stories that explore questions of race, equity, identity, history, institutional change and social justice.

The books — curated for the theme “Growing Up Brave on the Margins: Courage and Coming of Age” — will include Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona; The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; X: A Novel by Ilyashah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon; and The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon.

The titles were selected to inspire young people — especially those facing difficult circumstances or challenges — to consider “big questions” about the world around them and their place in it.

The grant, valued at a total of $2,400, provides TADL with a programming grant and 11 copies of each of the selected books, which will be gifted to the book club participants at the end of the program. TADL will also receive resources and training, including travel and accommodations for an orientation workshop in Chicago in October 2019. The workshop will include dialogue facilitation training led by consultants to Everyday Democracy and program modeling led by national project scholar Susana M. Morris (Georgia Institute of Technology).

Since 2006, ALA’s Great Stories Club has helped libraries engage young adults with accessible, thought-provoking literature. The current series is part of the Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation efforts, a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism.


About Traverse Area District Library

The Traverse Area District Library (TADL) provides dynamic resources and innovative services to stimulate intellectual curiosity, facilitate lifelong learning, promote literacy, and nurture personal enrichment. TADL provides a wide variety of services, including the loan and inter-library loan of a broad collection of book titles, periodicals, DVDs, CDs, downloadable e-books, subscription database, publicly accessible computers, free Wi-Fi service, a variety of meeting spaces, blind and physically handicapped services, and free programming for all ages. TADL consists of a network of libraries serving Grand Traverse County through the following locations: Main Library – Traverse City, East Bay and Kingsley branch libraries; the Fife Lake Public Library, Interlochen Public Library, and Peninsula Community Library. Learn more at tadl.org.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.