Grant will allow Librarians to Lead Book Clubs with Underserved Teens
Marion Public Library has been selected as one of 100 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.
Staff from the Marion Public Library will work with teens at the Marion Four Oaks location to read and discuss stories that explore the concept of empathy and what it means to be a hero.
The books — curated for the themes “Empathy: The Cost of Switching Sides” and “What Makes a Hero? Self, Society and Rising to the Occasion” — will include Flight by Sherman Alexie; Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia Butler, Damian Duffy and John Jennings; All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely; March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell; Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze; Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman; Binti by Nnedi Okorafor; and Buck: A Memoir by M.K. Asante.
The titles were selected in consultation with humanities scholars and librarians to inspire teens — especially those facing difficult circumstances or challenges — to consider "big questions" about the world around them and their place in it, ultimately affecting how they view themselves as thinkers and creators.
As part of the grant, the Marion Public Library will receive 11 copies of each of the selected books, which will be gifted to the book club participants. The library will also receive resources and training, including travel and accommodations for an orientation workshop in Chicago. The workshops will include dialogue facilitation training led by consultants with Everyday Democracy and program modeling led by national project scholars Maria Sachiko Cecire (Bard College) and Anna Mae Duane (University of Connecticut).
Marion Public Library Teen Services staff have been doing monthly outreach visits to Marion Four Oaks as part of its Strategic Plan mission to meet patrons where they are in the community through outreach services.