For immediate release | April 30, 2012

NEH, ALA to present 'Bridging Cultures' programs at ALA Annual Conference

Sessions include information on upcoming Bookshelf grant for libraries

CHICAGO – The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, will present two events at the ALA 2012 Annual Conference in Anaheim to introduce a new grant initiative for libraries, “Muslim Journeys,” a Bridging Cultures Bookshelf program. For more information about Muslim Journeys,” visit

Both conference programs are free and open to all attendees and will include information for libraries interested in developing similar programs for their own communities with the support of the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf grant.

  • Muslim Journeys: Collection Development and Programming Grants

    Sunday, June 24, 10:30 a.m. – noon

    Anaheim Convention Center Room 202B

    Representatives from NEH and ALA will present information about the “Muslim Journeys” Bookshelf, a program of NEH’s Bridging Cultures initiative. Co-presented with ALA, the program seeks to foster understanding and appreciation of the pluralism of cultural forms and traditions within the Muslim world by providing libraries with a new set of resources, recommended by scholars and librarians, that offer glimpses of the rich cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations around the world. Librarians who have hosted pilot “Muslim Journeys” programs will also share their experiences and best practices. Attend this session to learn more about applying for the collection and developing related community programs.
  • Now Showing @ ALA: Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World

    Sunday, June 24, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

    Anaheim Convention Center Room 304C

    This program will feature an advance screening of Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World (set for broadcast on PBS affiliates beginning in July 2012), an introduction by Unity Productions’ outreach director, Daniel Tutt, and information about how to receive a free copy of the film with public performance rights for your library. A Q&A session with filmmakers and scholars will follow. Narrated by Academy Award-winning performer Susan Sarandon, this dazzling documentary reveals the variety and diversity of Islamic art. Join us for an epic journey across nine countries and more than 1,400 years of history, exploring the stories behind many great masterworks of Islamic Art and Architecture.

From June 15 through Sept. 25, 2012, public libraries, community college and academic libraries and state humanities councils are invited to apply for the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf, a collection of more than 20 books and two documentary films selected with the advice of scholars and librarians to help public audiences in the United States become more familiar with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims around the world, including those within the U.S. In December 2012. Up to 1,000 libraries will receive the “Muslim Journeys” collection, as well as bonus resources to support programs for public audiences, including access to thematic essays, discussion questions, podcasts and proprietary film and Internet content.

For more information, visit or The online application, book and film titles and resources to help plan your proposal will be posted on June 15. The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf is a project of NEH and the ALA Public Programs Office, offered with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

For more information about these and other events offered by the ALA Public Programs Office at the ALA Annual Conference, visit Find out about the many other ALA Annual Conference & Exhibits highlights as they’re added—speakers, events, networking opportunities, and more. And for general information about the meeting in Anaheim, Calif., June 21-26, 2012, visit us at Save money with Early Bird Registration, open until midnight, Sunday, May 13, 2012.

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, 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


Angela Thullen Baker

Program Officer

Public Programs Office (PPO)