Rochester Public Library Empowers Teens through ‘The Great Stories Club’ Grant from the American Library Association

Dec 7, 2023

The City of Rochester is pleased to announce that the Rochester Public Library has been selected as one of 27 libraries nationwide to participate in the esteemed Great Stories Club, a program initiated by the American Library Association (ALA) aimed at encouraging reading and meaningful discussions among underserved teenagers.

This competitive grant reflects the Library’s commitment to community outreach and fostering a love for literature at a young age.

The Great Stories Club brings together a dedicated team, including Amy Lemelin, Teen Librarian at RPL, Amy Swain, English Teacher, and Bryan Kelliher, Principal at Bud Carlson Academy. The Club explores stories that prompt conversations on shaping inclusive futures together.

“This initiative has been one of the coolest book experiences I’ve had,” expressed Danielle Feeney, one of the participating students. “It’s been refreshing to delve into these books, engage in thought-provoking conversations, and step outside my comfort zone.”

The selections for the theme “Imagining Tomorrow: Building Inclusive Futures” include titles such as “Victories Greater Than Death,” “The Marrow Thieves,” “The Sound of Stars,” “War Girls,” and “Across a Field of Starlight.” This selection aims to empower teens by exploring origin stories and inspiring a collective vision for the future.

Vanessa Colby shared, “I have made friends in this book club that I wouldn’t have made otherwise.” Emily Jones added, “I didn’t expect it would be this fun. I have made friends and connected with more people. This experience brought me back to reading.” Kiera Mullen echoed similar sentiments, saying, “I have made friends and I picked up books I wouldn’t have ordinarily.”

The grant provides the Library with a $500 programming stipend and 11 copies of each selected book to be gifted to the participants. In addition, the program offers comprehensive training and various resources throughout the grant term.

According to Teen Librarian Amy Lemelin, Kay Wright from the City of Rochester and Joseph Walker at the Rochester Public Library played integral roles in securing this grant.

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