Danbury Library 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.
“We are very happy and excited to be able to offer this groundbreaking program in the Danbury Library,” said Deirdre Johnson, Teen Librarian, Danbury Library. “The Great Stories Club will not only be fun for the teens who attend but also transformative and inspiring. Through their engagement with the texts and their interaction with Community Leaders, young people will develop the skills they need to become leaders themselves.”
As part of the Great Stories Club series on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation, staff from Danbury Library will work with Danbury Youth Services (DYS) in recruiting teens from the Danbury community 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 “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas; “Shadowshaper” by Daniel José Older; “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. Participating teens and library staff will also take part in racial healing sessions, where they will discuss questions of race and identity.
Danbury Library will receive a $1,200 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. Danbury Library 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).
Gatherings of the Great Stories Club will begin on Thursday, November 7. More information can be found at danburylibrary.org or by contacting Deirdre Johnson at (203) 797-4505 EXT 7716.
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.