NEH, ALA Public Programs Office announce 3,000 “We the People” Bookshelf grants on “Created Equal”

Contact: Lainie Castle, PPO
For Immediate Release
September 11, 2007

NEH, ALA Public Programs Office announce 3,000 “We the People” Bookshelf
grants on “Created Equal”

New collection includes titles and bonus materials to support Abraham
Lincoln Bicentennial programming

CHICAGO – The American Library Association’s (ALA) Public Programs Office (PPO) is pleased to partner with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the fifth “We the People” Bookshelf project.  Part of the NEH's “We the People” initiative, the Bookshelf is a grant program created to encourage young people to read and understand great literature while exploring themes in American history.

This year’s theme is “Created Equal.”  Public and school (K-12) libraries are invited to apply online from September 10, 2007 through January 25, 2008 at  In spring 2008, NEH and ALA will select 3,000 libraries to receive the “Created Equal” Bookshelf. Those selected will be required to use the Bookshelf selections in programs for young readers in their communities.

“The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial is the perfect time to reflect on the proposition that ‘All men are created equal,’” said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. “Understanding its full meaning and application has been the task of every generation since it was put forth as a self-evident truth by America’s Founders. The ‘We the People’ Bookshelf on Created Equal invites the young people today into the discussion.”

Successful applicants will receive the “We the People Bookshelf,” a collection of 17 classic hardcover books for young readers, all conveying the “Created Equal” theme. Several titles focus on the life and writings of Abraham Lincoln, whose 200th birthday will be celebrated during the 2008 – 2009 programming period.  In addition, winning libraries will receive four of these books in Spanish translation, and a bonus educational kit entitled “History in a Box on Abraham Lincoln.”  This kit, developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, contains a resource book (print and CD formats), DVDs, interactive CD-ROM and posters, featuring primary source documents, photographs, artwork, maps, songs and other teaching resources. Successful applicants will also receive accompanying materials for programming, including bookplates, bookmarks and posters. 

“The “Created Equal” Bookshelf provides a wonderful opportunity for libraries to enhance their collections, present local programs that tie-in to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial and participate in a successful and far-reaching national initiative,” said ALA President Loriene Roy.  “We are delighted that NEH sees libraries as a vital part of its ‘We the People’ initiative and continues to offer such extensive support for library programming.”

The “Created Equal” Bookshelf will feature the following books, selected by the NEH in consultation with members of ALA and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA.

  • Kindergarten through Grade 3: “The Ugly Duckling,” by Hans Christian Andersen; “The Gettysburg Address,” by Abraham Lincoln; “Pink and Say,” by Patricia Polacco; “Pink y Say,” by Patricia Polacco (translated by Alejandra López Varela)

  • Grades 4 through 6: “Elijah of Buxton,” by Christopher Paul Curtis; “Give Me Liberty! The Story of the Declaration of Independence,” by Russell Freedman; “Lincoln: A Photobiography,” by Russell Freedman; “Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom,” by Virginia Hamilton; “Lyddie,” by Katherine Paterson; “Lyddie,” by Katherine Paterson (translated by Rosa Benavides)

  • Grades 7 through 8: “Saturnalia,” by Paul Fleishman; “Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott,” by Russell Freedman; “Abraham Lincoln the Writer: A Treasury of His Greatest Speeches And Letters,” edited by Harold Holzer; “Breaking Through,” by Francisco Jiménez; “Senderos Fronterizos,” by Francisco Jiménez (translated by Francisco Jiménez)

  • Grades 9 through 12: “Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution,” by Natalie S. Bober; “That All People May Be One People, Send Rain to Wash the Face of the Earth,” by Nez Perce Chief Joseph; “Flowers for Algernon,” by Daniel Keyes; “Flores para Algernon,” by Daniel Keyes (translated by Paz Barroso); “Lincoln’s Virtues: An Ethical Biography,” by William Lee Miller; “Amistad: A Novel,” by David Pesci

The “Created Equal” Bookshelf online application and guidelines will be available from September 10, 2007 to January 25, 2008 at or  A single application may be submitted on behalf of multiple libraries within a library system, school district or community.  Individual branch and school libraries are also encouraged to apply.  To review a list of programming ideas while planning an application, or to see information on past Bookshelf themes, please visit

The Bookshelf grants are part of the NEH’s “We the People” initiative, which aims to encourage and strengthen the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture through libraries, schools, colleges, universities and cultural institutions.  NEH plans to issue a “We the People” Bookshelf each year on themes related to ideas and ideals unique to America.  Since 2003, ALA and NEH have awarded 6,000 “We the People” Bookshelves to public and school libraries. 

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

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities.  NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, exhibitions and programs in libraries, museums and other community locations.  For more information, please visit