Attleboro Library Exterior

Attleboro Public Library is one of 35 libraries nationwide to receive a competitive grant to start a reading and discussion program for under-served teens. The new program begins on Wednesday. (File photo)

ATTLEBORO — The Attleboro Public Library has been selected as one of 35 libraries nationwide to take part in a reading and discussion program for under-served teens.

The library has received a competitive grant from the American Library Association, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, for a Great Stories Club, which is set to begin Wednesday, Oct. 23.

As part of the club series on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, library staff will work with staff and teens at the Attleboro Community Academy to read and discuss stories that explore questions of race, equity, identity, history, institutional change and social justice.

“The ACA is excited to collaborate with the library on this project. This project aligns perfectly with our core principals of education that is student centered, relevant, and grounded in strong relationships among all members of the community,” ACA Principal Donna Maria Cameron said.

The books curated for the theme “Growing Up Brave on the Margins: Courage and Coming of Age” will include “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, “X: A Novel” by Ilyashah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon, and “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.

Participating teens and library staff will also take part in racial healing sessions, where they will discuss questions of race and identity.

The Attleboro Public Library has received a $1,200 programming grant and 11 copies of each of the books, which will be gifted to the book club participants at the end of the program.

The library and the Academy will also receive resources and training, including the travel and accommodations for Library Assistant Director Amy Rhilinger and Cameron, who both attended the orientation workshop in Chicago earlier this month where they learned, among other things, how to promote students sharing stories.

The library hopes to use the training in conversations with the community in the future.

Book discussions will be facilitated with Academy staff and students by Meghan Witherell, Attleboro Library’s teen/tween coordinator.

“It’s thrilling to be making these connections with community partners and local students while furthering our collective knowledge about the issues of race and society through books,” Witherell said. “We hope to foster a love of reading and work towards a better understanding of each other while discussing these timely topics.”

This marks the first time the library and the academy have created a joint program.

“We look forward to the possibilities it will bring to our city,” library officials said.

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