A Family Literacy Project of Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc.


For release on:
June 27, 2021

Black Caucus of the American Library Association Announces Reading is Grand! Celebrating Grand-Families Telling Our Stories @ Your Library Grant Winners

Chicago, IL – During the American Library Association (ALA) Conference and Exhibition, June 23 – June 29, 2021, Karen Lemmons, Chair of the 2021 Reading is Grand! Celebrating Grand-Families Telling Our Stories @ Your Library Selection Committee, announced that four libraries will receive the 2021 Reading is Grand! Grant. Reading is Grand! is a celebration of the important role African American grandparents and older adults play in the lives of children. It is through their infinite wisdom and experience that children learn the unique cultural and familial values that help them grow into valuable contributors to the community.

The grant-winning libraries — Ferguson Library, South End Branch, Stamford, CT; Leroy J. Coles, Jr. Branch Library, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Buffalo, NY; Langston Hughes Community Library & Cultural Center, Corona NY; Uniondale Public Library, Uniondale, NY— were selected based on the level of creativity and originality of program criteria, action plans, level of involvement of grandparents in the activities, and impact of the program on the community.

The four winning programs are as follows:

Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT.
“Memories/I Remember When” will be a pop-up museum exhibit celebrating grandparents, their families, and their memories. Grandparents, children, and community members will contribute photos and stories to this special exhibit. In addition to the exhibit, other activities include a performing artist, a photo booth, and refreshments. The exhibit will be held in the pop-up for a few hours and then moved into the library for a short time.

Leroy J. Coles, Jr. Branch, Buffalo NY.
“Our Family’s Story” will focus on collecting, sharing, and preserving stories of African American families at the Leroy R. Coles, Jr. Branch Library. The program will incorporate oral, visual, and written presentations. On September 11, children and their grandparents will take photos, decorate picture frames, and listen to stories about the importance of grandparents and families. Throughout September, the library will display a collection of books celebrating grandparents, families, and the art of storytelling. In addition, the library will distribute a list of potential activity ideas for children to do with their grandparents.

Langston Hughes Community & Cultural Center, Corona, NY.
The program will be virtual and will take place on Saturday, September 11 at 3 p.m. There will be a panel of special guests, either former or current members of the library staff and/or community, who will read aloud, as well as talk, and answer questions about the historical and cultural importance of Langston Hughes Community Center. Children who attend this program will receive a gift book.

Uniondale Public Library, Uniondale, NY
“Telling Our Stories through Music & Books” is a virtual program in three parts. Professional classical violinist Matthew Beauge will perform the song One Love by Bob Marley and read the picture book One Love written by Cedella Marley. Senior Councilwoman, Civil Rights Activist, and Grandmother Dorothy Goosby will read the book Trombone Shorty and lead a discussion on the importance of music in our lives. The third part is a raffle in which the first 20 families who register will be placed in a drawing to receive gift copies of one of the above books or vouchers for two free music lessons.

The 2021 Reading is Grand! Celebrating Grand-Families Telling Our Stories @ Your Library selection committee includes: Chair Karen Lemmons, Library Media Specialist, Detroit School of Arts, Detroit, MI; Richard Ashby, Director, Sto-Rox Public Library, McKees Rocks, PA; Kathy Carroll, Lead Library Media Specialist, Westwood High School, Blythewood, SC; and Tamela Chambers, Branch Manager, Beverly Branch of the Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL.

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association serves as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation’s African American community; and provides leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American librarians.

Contact Person:
Karen Lemmons, Chair 2021 Reading is Grand! Selection Committee
Phone: 313-580-4253
Email: [email protected]

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