Seventy libraries have been selected to participate in the American Library Association’s Great Stories Club series on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT), a thematic reading and discussion program series that will engage underserved teens through literature-based library outreach programs and racial healing work.
An expansion of ALA’s long-standing Great Stories Club program model, the TRHT Great Stories Club will feature books that can help readers look beneath the surface of racism in America to reveal how the past is alive in the present, and explore the power of young people taking a stand against racism and other injustices to make the world a better place. The program is supported as part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort, 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.
The grantees represent 46 public libraries, 13 school/K-12 libraries, 4 academic libraries, 5 community college libraries, one prison library and one cultural center library. Additionally, 50 community partner organizations including alternative schools, youth detention centers and other organizations that serve youth are participating in the project. View a list of the grantees and their partner organizations.
The libraries will work with small groups of teens in 2019 to read and discuss book titles — selected by librarians and humanities scholars to resonate with reluctant readers facing difficult challenges — on the themes “Deeper Than Our Skins: The Present is a Conversation with the Past” and “Finding Your Voice: Speaking Truth to Power.” Some libraries will also host racial healing sessions led by practitioners familiar with the Kellogg Foundation’s TRHT framework and racial healing approach.
Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, Wash., will collaborate with literacy arts organization Write253, local anti-racist organizers The People’s Assembly and community leaders to reach teens through an existing book club.
“Participation in the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation series represents a real opportunity for the library to put into practice racial justice principles by engaging community members deeply invested in this work, providing opportunities for relationship-building, and reaching the youth in our community who are most marginalized,” said Teen Services Librarian Elise Bodell.
Participating libraries will receive 11 copies of up to four books on the TRHT Great Stories Club 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 and Office for Diversity Literacy and Outreach Services.
Titles for the “Deeper than Our Skins” series include “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.
Titles for “Finding Your Voice” include “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; and “Anger is a Gift” by Mark Oshiro.
The TRHT Great Stories Club Implementation Team led creation of both themes. “Deeper Than Our Skins” was been developed by literature scholar Maria Sachiko Cecire (Bard College) and librarians Wini Ashooh (Central Rappahannock Regional Library System), Edith Campbell (Cunningham Memorial Library at Indiana State University) and Vanessa “Chacha” Centeno (Sacramento Public Library). “Finding Your Voice” was developed by literature scholar Susana M. Morris (Georgia Institute of Technology) and librarians Angelina M. Cortes (Sno-Isle Libraries), Joslyn Bowling Dixon (Prince William Library System) and Amira Shabana (Barrington (Illinois) Middle School).
A final round of Great Stories Club grants for the TRHT series will be offered in 2019 for programs held Oct. 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020. Learn more about the 2019 opportunity.
The Great Stories Club is administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office in partnership with ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services. Funding is provided by the Kellogg Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts and Acton Family Giving.
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.