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Leila Khalil
Public Affairs Officer
305-375-5291
khalill@mdpls.org

The Miami-Dade Public Library System hosts ‘Great Stories Club’ for at‑risk teens

(Miami, FL – August 29, 2016) The Miami‑Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) is hosting a reading and discussion program designed for at‑risk teens thanks to a competitive grant received from the American Library Association (ALA). The program gives teens a space to read, share and reflect on ideas that matter to them.

As one of 75 Great Stories Club grant recipients selected from across the country, MDPLS is working with three groups of 6 to 10 teens to read and discuss three modern novels under the theme “The Art of Change: Creation, Growth and Transformation.” They include “Buck: A Memoir” by M.K. Asante, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part‑Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, and “The Complete Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi. The titles—selected by librarian advisors and humanities scholars—were chosen to resonate with reluctant readers who struggle with complex issues such as incarceration, violence and poverty. Eleven copies of each book have been provided so that participants can have their own copies.

MDPLS has partnered with the Miami‑Dade Juvenile Services Department (JSD) which selected and recruited the youth participants for the program through the department’s intake process. JSD also arranges for transportation for the teens to the book club meetings, distributes the books and reports participant attendance to their case managers.

Past participants say the program has inspired them to make positive life choices and changed their attitude toward reading. “Participating in the GSC opened my eyes to the future,” said one participant. “This really helped me to realize what is going on in the world around me,” said another.

Gatherings of the Great Stories Club are taking place at the North Dade Regional Library, Main Library and the Homestead Branch Library through September 17.

Since its inception in 2006, ALA’s Great Stories Club has reached 670 libraries in 49 states and more than 30,000 young adults (ages 12 to 21). The grant is administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office in partnership with the Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA), including the Library Services for Youth in Custody and Library Services to the Incarcerated and Detained interest groups. The Great Stories Club is made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence.

About the Miami‑Dade Juvenile Services Department
The Miami‑Dade County Juvenile Services Department (JSD) is committed to the youth and families of Miami‑Dade County. JSD allows representatives from law enforcement and social services to work together under one roof to provide a complete range of services for both at‑risk youth and youth involved with the Juvenile Justice System. Formerly known as the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC), the facility has served as a centralized processing, referral, and evaluation center for over 195,000 juvenile arrests in Miami‑Dade County, and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 55,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer‑reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov.

About the Miami-Dade Public Library System

The Miami‑Dade Public Library System (MDPLS), a recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, serves as a community center and learning place where the Miami‑Dade community meets to exchange ideas, learn, share, and create. The Library strives to ensure that all residents, regardless of socioeconomics, will be enriched through access to materials, technology, art and culture and programs so that they may develop the skills they need to create and produce innovations for the 21st century. Through its 50 locations, bookmobiles, special services, website (www.mdpls.org) and MDPLS iLibrary app, the library proudly serves more than 7 million annual visitors. In the more than 40 years of serving the community, the MDPLS continues to experience tremendous change and growth, evolving with the technological needs and requirements of its diverse community.

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