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NEH, ALA offer grants to support 'Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys' programs

WASHINGTON (January 15, 2013) –The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, will award up to 125 libraries and state humanities councils a $4,500 programming grant to host a Let’s Talk About It reading and discussion series featuring some of the materials included in the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys. All public, academic and community college libraries, as well as state humanities councils, that were selected to receive the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys are invited to apply online through March 29 by visiting www.programminglibrarian.org/muslimjourneys.

Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys follows the popular Let’s Talk About It model, which engages participants in discussion of a set of common texts selected by a nationally known scholar for their relevance to a larger, overarching theme. Following a competitive application process, 125 sites will be selected to receive:

  • Up to $4,500 in grant funding which can be used to purchase additional books, pay scholar honorarium and support travel to a national workshop in the summer of 2013;
  • Promotional materials, including posters, bookmarks and folders, to support local audience recruitment efforts;
  • Orientation for the library project director and scholar at a national workshop, where they will hear from the project scholar, expert librarians and organizers and receive a program planning guide, materials and ideas.

NEH and ALA have developed five Let’s Talk About It themes to encourage dynamic conversation on a variety of issues presented in the materials included in the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys.  Themes include American Stories, Connected Histories, Literary Reflections, Pathways of Faith, and Points of View. For more information about this Let’s Talk About It programming opportunity, including in-depth descriptions of the themes, visit www.programminglibrarian.org/muslimjourneys or www.neh.gov/divisions/bridging-cultures. The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf is a project of NEH, conducted in cooperation with the ALA Public Programs Office, with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media components was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts.

Bridging Cultures is an NEH initiative that engages the power of the humanities to promote understanding and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives within the United States and abroad.

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, Live! @ your library and more.  Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed www.ProgrammingLibrarian.org, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit www.ala.org/publicprograms.

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Paula Wasley at (202) 606-8424 or pwasley@neh.gov