discussion programs

Get Ready for the Next We the People Bookshelf

It’s that time of year again—time to apply for the We the People Bookshelf. This year’s theme, “A More Perfect Union,” seeks to promote reflection among young people on the idea of the United States as a union. What is the nature of the union that the Founders formed and Abraham Lincoln sought to save? Consider our motto (E Pluribus Unum—“Out of many, one.”)—in what ways is America a One as well as a Many? With the ratification of the U.S.

New Great Stories CLUB Theme, Titles Announced

The Public Programs Office is pleased to announce that the theme for the newest round of Great Stories CLUB (Connecting Libraries, Underserved teens and Books) reading and discussion grants will be “New Horizons.”

When we challenge ourselves to go beyond our familiar surroundings, we can often discover new horizons and strengths within ourselves. New horizons also present themselves when we are willing to explore a larger universe. These stories are about teens who discover new horizons in their lives and in the world.

Using Visual Thinking Strategies to Conduct Picturing America Programs

When I heard that the District of Columbia Public Library was receiving a set of high-quality posters of American art for each site—thanks to the NEH/ALA Picturing America grant—I couldn’t have been more excited. Our staff of 50 children’s and teen librarians had just received training in Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). They had new-found knowledge that could bring these images to life in programs for any age group. Now they would have resources to use while their training and enthusiasm were fresh.

Crossroads Juvenile Center's Great Stories CLUB Experience

Passages Academy Libraries and Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) have collaborated to bring Rounds I and II of the Great Stories CLUB to the students at Crossroads Juvenile Center. During both rounds we sought to provide library services to the female students, a minority population at Crossroads. Initially, Lisa Goldstein and Vani Natarajan of BPL and I faced a number of challenges in implementing this program. First, the population is extremely transient.

Visiting the NYC Great Stories CLUB

On June 8, 2009, the ALA’s Great Stories CLUB sent me to Crossroads juvenile detention center in East New York, Brooklyn. ALA’s Lainie Castle put out a call to Penguin, my publisher, looking for the wonderful YA author Paul Volponi, to whom I am sometimes compared—a great compliment to me but maybe not so great for Mr. Volponi. Alas, Penguin’s author appearance coordinator, Emily Heddleson, said, “We don’t have Paul Volponi, but I can get you Paul Griffin. He will be more than happy to go.” And I was.

Programming and Resources for Caregivers

More than 50 million Americans provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member or friend during any given year. While these people are dedicated to doing everything they can for the person for whom they care, they are often desperately in need of assistance to do so adequately and without sacrificing their own health and well-being. Tragically, far too many caregivers will never ask for help for themselves, or do not know where to begin to find it, and face the reality of caregiver burnout.

Federal Writers’ Project Programming Resource

The ALA Public Programs Office is currently coordinating a project with thirty libraries around the United States called “Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story,” with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. “Soul of a People” addresses the fascinating history of a small part of Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA)—the Federal Writers’ Project. Instead of building roads and bridges, the Writers’ Project helped to create a remarkable portrait of America in words.

Second Opinion

“Second Opinion,” is a grant-funded initiative for caregivers. The initiative includes a Web site, booklet, and DVD aimed at helping caregivers find the information and resources they need to help them and the people for whom they care. Find out more about the series.


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