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Mount St. Mary's Receives Great Stories Club Grant from ALA

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19

Phillips Library in spring

Phillips Library is one of four academic libraries nationwide to be selected for the Great Stories Club, a reading and discussion program for underserved teens. This competitive grant, for which the library received two awards, is offered by the American Library Association (ALA) with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). A total of 58 U.S. libraries were selected to implement this grant.

Mount students will read and discuss stories exploring race, equity, identity and history as part of the Great Stories Club. Book discussions will be led by Student Success Librarian Emily Holland in partnership with Learning Services’ Summit Scholars Program. The themes “Finding Your Voice: Speaking Truth to Power” and “Deeper than Our Skins: The Present Is a Conversation with the Past” were created by scholars Maria Sachiko Cecire and Susana M. Morris. 

“I believe we were one of so few academic libraries chosen because we have the terrific opportunity to fulfill the objectives of the Great Stories Club program by way of a partnership with the Mount's existing Summit Scholars program,” noted Holland. “The Great Stories Club programming targets teens who would benefit from additional support, and we are able to do this very thing in our own community thanks to our Summit Scholars program.”

The books chosen for the theme “Finding Your Voice: Speaking Truth to Power,” will include “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo; “I Am Alfonso Jones” by Tony Medina; “Piecing Me Together” by Renée Watson; and “American Street” by Ibi Zoboi.

Titles selected for the theme “Deeper Than Our Skins: The Present Is a Conversation with the Past,” will include “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates; “The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano” by Sonia Manzano; “The Shadow Hero” by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Sonny Liew; and “Mother of the Sea” by Zetta Elliott.

The themes, along with the accompanying titles, are especially relevant as the Mount continues to explore issues of race, identity and equity on campus.

Phillips Library will receive a $1,000 programming stipend and several copies of each of the selected books, which will be gifted to participants.

Since 2006, ALA’s Great Stories Club has helped libraries engage young adults with accessible, thought-provoking literature. To learn more about the Great Stories Club, please visit

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19