As many people know talking about books is not something I do a lot of. My connection to teens tends to be through technology, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t read books written for teens and it doesn’t mean that I’m not curious about the world of teen reading and YALSA’s role in promoting reading to teens.
All that is to lead up to some thoughts about the Great Books Club Project that YALSA sponsored along with ALA and the ALA PPO (Public Programs Office.) This was the project that began in fall 2005 and ran through December 2006. It was funded by Oprah’s Angel Network Book Club Award and provided participating libraries with funding and resources for book discussion groups geared to underserved teens.
It’s interesting to find out some of the facts about the program:
- 181 libraries in 48 states participated
- Libraries of all types participated including school, public, and juvenile detention facilities.
- Community outreach and collaboration was promoted as participating libraries had to work with at least one youth serving organization in the community.
That last bullet point is really exciting to think about. Through connections with community groups libraries were able to connect with underserved teens that they might not have otherwise been able to reach. The community connections most likely also provided the librarians with opportunities to educate about what the library has to offer and a chance to learn about what teens need from the library.
This project has some really exciting and interesting components related to serving the needs of all teens in a community. It will be interesting to see what happens next. An overview of the program is available on the ALA web site.