New Kingsport library club to explore social justice issues

Matthew Lane • Updated Sep 23, 2019 at 12:55 PM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Public Library will participate in the Great Stories Club, a nationwide reading and discussion program for underserved teens.

Kingsport was one of 35 libraries across the country to be selected for a grant by the American Library Association (ALA) with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The grant provides the books to be used in the upcoming program.

As part of the Great Stories Club series on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, library staff will work with teens at Girls Inc. to read and discuss stories that explore questions of race, equity, identity, history, institutional change and social justice.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to partner with Girls Inc. and support the community in a new way,” said Chris Markley, library manager.


The theme of the new club will be “Growing Up Brave on the Margins: Courage and Coming of Age,” and the books used in the program will include:

— “Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal” by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona.

— “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas.

— “Shadowshaper” by Daniel José Older.

— “The Sun is Also a Star” by Nicola Yoon.

The titles were selected to inspire young people — especially those facing difficult circumstances or challenges — to consider “big questions” about the world around them and their place in it.


The Kingsport Public Library will receive a programming grant and 11 copies of each of the selected books, which will be gifted to the book club participants at the end of the program. The library will also receive resources and training, including travel and accommodations for an orientation workshop in Chicago in October 2019.

The workshop will include dialogue facilitation training led by consultants to Everyday Democracy and program modeling led by national project scholar Susana M. Morris (Georgia Institute of Technology).

Since 2006, ALA’s Great Stories Club has helped libraries engage young adults with accessible, thought-provoking literature. The current series is part of the Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation efforts, a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism.