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Hillsboro Public Library Selected for National Program to Help Underserved Teens

Post Date:08/08/2018

Black PantherThe Hillsboro Public Library has been selected by the American Library Association as one of only 100 American libraries to take part in the Great Stories Club, a nationwide reading and discussion program for underserved teens.

Library Assistant Amanda Pena from the Hillsboro Library’s Community Engagement and Outreach Division will lead a reading and discussion program with residents at the Harkins House, a short-term temporary residential shelter and evaluation program in Hillsboro serving young adults from throughout Washington County.

Over the past year, Pena has made monthly visits to work with Harkins House residents – mostly males between the ages of 13 to 16 – to help them secure library cards, to enroll them in the Hillsboro Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, to provide free book for the residents and the shelter, and to connect them with a local artist for light painting.

As part of the selection, Pena and other Hillsboro Library staff will receive 11 paperback book copies of three different book selections, such as Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze (pictured right) as well as programming materials and training for group discussions.

“I’m thrilled that The Great Stories Club will help Harkins House teens delve deeper into books and discuss issues they encounter in their daily lives,” Pena said.

Starting this October, Pena will select reading materials and organize follow-up discussions for Harkins House residents based on the Great Stories Club’s two national themes, “Empathy: The Cost of Switching Sides” and “What Makes a Hero? Self, Society, and Rising to the Occasion.”

“The Hillsboro Public Library is for everyone, and it is our honor to connect some of our community’s most vulnerable youth with such powerful stories,” said Library Director Stephanie Chase. “This project touches upon many of our strategic initiatives, from cultivating a community of readers to facilitating community connections and partnerships to bringing library access to our users, wherever they are.”

Created in 2006, the Great Stories Club engages young adults with accessible, thought-provoking literature, facilitates humanities-based discussion with peers, and encourages library outreach partnerships with alternative schools, juvenile detention facilities and a variety of other youth-focused community organizations.

Learn more about the Hillsboro Public Library at

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