Grants available for final round of renowned “Let's Talk About It: Jewish Literature –Identity and Imagination” reading and discussion series

Contact: Lainie Castle
Public Programs Office
312.280.5055
lcastle@ala.org
For Immediate Release
September 4, 2007

Grants available for final round of renowned “Let’s Talk About It:
Jewish Literature –Identity and Imagination” reading and
discussion series

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office (PPO) and Nextbook, an organization dedicated to promoting Jewish culture, arts and ideas, are pleased to announce a new round of grants for, “Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature – Identity and Imagination,” a theme-based reading and discussion series.  Public and academic libraries are encouraged to apply for this final round of grants under the “Jewish Literature: Identity and Imagination theme.”

Based on the “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series model introduced nationally by ALA in 1982, “Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature” features scholar-led discussions that delve into first-rate contemporary and classic Jewish literature.  Over the past four years, more than 250 “Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature” grants have been awarded to libraries in 43 states nationwide.  Participating libraries will each host a five-part discussion series featuring one of six themes.  Among these is “Modern Marvels: Jewish Adventures in the Graphic Novel” theme, marking the first national reading and discussion theme devoted to graphic novels.   The book selections featured for the “Modern Marvels” theme are:

  • “A Contract With God,” by Will Eisner


  • “Maus I/II,” by Art Spiegelman


  • “Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: Stories,” by Ben Katchor


  • “The Quitter,” by Harvey Pekar


  • “The Rabbi’s Cat,” by Joann Sfar

Each library selected for the grant will receive:

  • A $2,500 grant to support program costs and scholar honoraria.


  • Training for the library project director at a national training workshop, where they will hear from project scholars, past participants and organizers and receive a program planning guide, materials and ideas.


  • Program materials and information, including access to a site-support Web site, featuring introductory literature on each of the books, promotional materials and selections for additional reading.

The final round of “Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature – Identity and Imagination” grants will be awarded in 2008.  Libraries that received a past grant and completed a “Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature” series are eligible to apply for a single-series grant of $2,500, or a two-series $5,000 grant.  Complete guidelines and the application are available at www.ala.org/publicprograms or www.nextbook.org/ala.  Applications are due by December 3, 2007.

“Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature – Identity and Imagination” is funded by a multi-year grant from Nextbook.  For more information, please visit www.ala.org/publicprograms or www.nextbook.org/ala.

Created in 2003, Nextbook is a non-profit organization that promotes books illuminating 3,000 years of Jewish civilization.  Nextbook’s programs include partnerships with public libraries to build collections and to create innovative public programs; annotated reading lists that guide readers to exciting works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; and a Web site featuring a daily cultural news digest, with links to stories and reviews from around the world.  Nextbook is a gateway to Jewish literature, culture, and ideas for Jews and non-Jews alike. For more information, visit www.nextbook.org.

Established in 1992, the ALA Public Programs Office has an impressive history of developing library programming initiatives, including the acclaimed reading and discussion series “Let’s Talk About It,” film discussion programs on humanities themes, traveling exhibitions, LIVE! @ your library®, and other notable programs.  In 2003, the ALA Public Programs Office established The Cultural Communities Fund, an endowment created to help libraries across the country bring communities together through cultural programming.  The Public Programs Office serves more than 3,000 libraries and more than two million library users annually through its library programming initiatives.  For more information, please visit www.ala.org/publicprograms.