Grant Recipient – Great Stories Club

Reston Regional Library receives ‘Great Stories Club’ book club programming grant for at-risk teens

Fairfax, VA — Reston Regional Library, a branch of Fairfax County Public Library, has been selected to receive a competitive grant from the American Library Association (ALA) to host a reading and discussion program for at-risk youth about teen violence and suicide. Reston Regional Library will partner with Embry Rucker Community Shelter, located across the street from the library branch, to serve the teens who utilize the shelter’s services. Reston Regional Library staff partnered with Fairfax Library Foundation to secure this grant award.

As one of 75 Great Stories Club grant recipients selected from across the country, Reston Regional Library will work with a group of up to 15 teens to read and discuss three books in which protagonists deal with issues surrounding teen violence, bullying and suicide.

“So many teens in our community struggle with issues of violence and suicide, and much of the time, adults are painfully unaware of what they’re going through,” said Eva Newton, Librarian at Reston Regional and Project Director of this program. “We’re thrilled to be able to use literature to start these important conversations with our young people.”

The book titles, under the theme “Structures of Suffering: Origins of Teen Violence and Suicide,” include: “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher; “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini; and “Romeo and Juliet: No Fear Shakespeare Graphic Novels” illustrated by Matt Weigle. 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.

Reston Regional Library will receive 11 copies of each of the three books, which will be gifted to the book club participants. The Reston Regional Library will also receive training and resources to assist them with leading the book group.

The partnership between Reston Regional Library and Embry Rucker Community Shelter has existed for two and a half years. Embry Rucker Community Shelter is a 70-bed residential shelter for families with a full service program, including case management and health care with on-site mental health substance abuse counseling. They are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Shelter staff visit the library branch regularly, and once a month, library staff goes over the shelter to host a storytime for families. This is a very popular program, with approximately 30 attendees each time. The library and shelter are excited to strengthen this partnership through the ALA Great Stories Club, to serve at-risk teens in Fairfax County.

Gatherings of the Great Stories Club at Reston Regional will begin April 24, 2017. For more information, please contact Eva Newton at 703-689-2700 or Teens will be selected for the program through referral by the shelter and other community partners.

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 13 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 Fairfax County Public Library

Fairfax County Public Library operates eight regional library branches and 14 community library branches conveniently located to serve more than one million residents of Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax. An Access Services branch, located at the Fairfax County Government Center, provides unique services for residents with visual and physical disabilities. The library’s Virginia Room, located in the City of Fairfax Regional Library, maintains a collection rich in regional history and genealogy, as well as local and state government information and legal resources.

In addition to operating the 23 public service sites and providing access to more than 2.3 million books, the library has developed an impressive and expanding array of library services including early literacy outreach, more than 300 educational and engaging events each month, access to public computers and WiFi as well as eBooks and other digital resources for remote users accessible through the library’s website.

About Fairfax Library Foundation

Fairfax Library Foundation is a nonprofit corporation committed to providing supplementary support to the Fairfax County Public Library. The Foundation, while reinforcing the need for continued and increased public support for the Library, serves as a catalyst for attracting private funding from individuals, businesses, organizations and foundations to enhance library services for our community.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 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