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MDC’s Meek Center Library Wins American Library Association Grant

EEC Library

Miami, January 10, 2011 - Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center Library recently won a national American Library Association (ALA) Great Stories CLUB grant to connect teens to reading in Liberty City.

The grant recognizes partnerships between libraries and organizations that serve troubled and at-risk teens. It was created with the ultimate goal to inspire young adults who face difficult situations to take control of their lives by embracing the power of reading.

Through this opportunity, the Meek Library has partnered with Empowered Youth, Inc. and the Liberty Square Housing Project Library to create a Great Stories CLUB, which will host book talks once a month with post-detention teens. The books will be donated by the ALA.

Participants of the Great Stories CLUB will be mostly males, ages 13 to 19, who live in, or have a connection to, the Liberty Square Public Housing Project, a 753-unit complex in Liberty City.

For decades, Liberty Square residents have lived at or below the poverty level and, in recent years, crime has become a major concern. This youth population is the most at-risk of entering the juvenile justice system.

Starting on Wednesday, Jan. 26, the group will meet monthly at Liberty City’s Belafonte TACOLCY Center. The book club will be led by Theo Karantsalis, assistant library director of Outreach Services at the Meek Library.

Some of the books selected include Hate List by Jennifer Brown, Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers and The Brothers Torres by Coert Voorhees. Supplementary materials, such as tip sheets, discussion questions, related reading lists and access to online resources will be available as well. In addition, partnering organizations will expand on the work done in the Great Stories CLUB by continuing to host reading-focused events for teens and inviting authors to meet with them in person.

At the end of the seven-month program, three teens will be invited as featured guests on MDC’s Library Matters television show to discuss their experiences. 

Empowered Youth is a non-profit organization that operates mentoring programs at the Miami-Dade Juvenile Justice Detention Facility. The Liberty Square Housing Project Library opened in 2009 with a donation of 3,000 books. Volunteer-run, it receives no governmental funding. Major funding for the Great Stories CLUB has been provided by Oprah’s Angel Network.

For more information, please contact Theo Karantsalis at 786-399-7816.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

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