Two New Themes and Increased Programming Grants                             

For 2008 - 2009 Programs, the Application Deadline is December 3, 2007
                   Grant Award Notification by January 31, 2008


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List of Libraries Selected for PHASE 2  |  Wiki for Workshop Participants |  Scholar's List
Book Discussion Dates for PHASE 2 Round 1 Libraries (pdf)



The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office (PPO) and Nextbook, a gateway to Jewish literature, culture and ideas, are pleased to announce another round of grants for Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature – Identity and Imagination, a theme-based reading and discussion series. Under the new deadlines, two new themes and increased programming grants are available.  Public and academic libraries are eligible to apply.


Based on the “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion model pioneered nationally by ALA in 1982, Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature features scholar-led, theme-based discussions that explore the best in contemporary and classic Jewish literature.  Over the past three years, Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature grants have been awarded to 159 libraries nationwide.  Participating libraries will each host a five-part discussion series featuring one of six themes.

The two new themes and book selections are:

Neighbors: The World Next Door

A Journey to the End of the Millennium, A.B. Yehoshua

Red Cavalry, Isaac Babel

Neighbors, Jan T. Gross

The Assistant, Bernard Malamud

Mona in the Promised Land, Gish Jen

Modern Marvels: Jewish Adventures in the Graphic Novel

A Contract with God, Will Eisner

Maus I/II, Art Spiegelman

Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: Stories, Ben Katchor

The Quitter, Harvey Pekar

The Rabbi’s Cat, Joann Sfar

Previous themes, which also are included, are 

  • Your Heart’s Desire: Sex and Love in Jewish Literature
  • Demons, Golems, and Dybbuks: Monsters of the Jewish Imagination
  • Between Two Worlds: Stories of Estrangement and Homecoming and
  • A Mind of Her Own: Fathers and Daughters in a Changing World. 



Each library selected for the grant project will receive:

  • A $2,500 grant (increased from $1,500 in the past) 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, experts, and organizers, and receive a program planning guide, materials and ideas. The next training workshop will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, April 1 and 2, 2008 in San Francisco.
  • Program materials, including introductory literature and essays on each of the books, promotional materials, and selections for additional reading.

Libraries that have already received a grant and completed a Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature series are eligible to apply for a single-series $2,500 grant or a two-series $5,000 grant under each deadline. 


The application deadline for the second round of grants is 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


Nextbook is a national initiative to promote books that illuminate 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 Website ( featuring a daily cultural news digest with links to stories and reviews from around the world.

Program Guidelines and Grant Application (pdf) (Word


This brochure contains the following information:

  • Explanation of the Let’s Talk About It Program
  • Themes and Book selections
  • Application Guidelines
  • Application Deadlines
  • Eligibility and Requirements
  • Review Criteria
  • FAQs
  • Application Form

With questions about Let's Talk About It: Jewish Literature grants, please contact the Let's Talk About It project director, Mary Davis Fournier, at (312) 280-5056 or Deb Robertson, Director, Public Programs Office, at or Lainie Castle, Program Officer / Communications at

 Calendar lists of dates when Let's Talk About It: Jewish Literature programming will be hosted in libraries.

 Wiki for all LTAI: Jewish Literature Project Directors and Scholars

Related Files

Current Book Discussion Dates (PDF File)
Scholars List for LTAI: Jewish Literature
Grant Application (MS Word)
Program Guidelines and Grant Application (PDF File)

Related Links

Wiki for Workshop Participants
Archive site for prior Lets Talk About It themes
Online Site Support Notebook for Libraries Awarded Prior Jewish Literature Grants (login & password required)
Round I Libraries
Round II Libraries
Round III Libraries
Round IV Libraries
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Let's Talk About It, a reading and book discussion program model developed by the American Library Association (ALA) in the 1980s, focuses on reading a common series of texts, chosen by a nationally known scholar, and discussing them in the context of a larger theme. Over the past 15 years, the model has been adopted - and adapted - by hundreds of libraries throughout the country.