For immediate release | March 19, 2013

Apply by March 29 for 'Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys' programs

Application deadline approaching for up to $4,500 in program support

CHICAGO – The deadline is approaching for all public, academic and community college libraries—as well as state humanities councils—that were selected to receive the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys to apply for Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys. Libraries and state humanities councils that received the Bookshelf are invited to apply at by March 29 for this additional program series, which features some of the Bookshelf materials. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office will award up to 125 libraries and humanities councils an additional programming grant of $4,500 to host Let's Talk About It reading and discussion programs.

Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys follows the popular Let’s Talk About It model, which engages community discussion around a set of common texts, chosen by a nationally known scholar for their relevance to a larger, overarching theme. NEH and ALA developed five Let’s Talk About It themes to encourage dynamic conversation on a variety of issues presented in the books included in the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf.

Past Let’s Talk About It project director Larry Grieco, director of Gilpin County (Colo.) Public Library, said, “Having led two recent Let's Talk About It programs in my library, I can attest to the fact that this program model is practically foolproof. The discussions have drawn many people to the library, both users and non-users alike. After the first one, I was bombarded with requests to have another one. ‘Let's Talk About It’ became ‘Let's Do It Again!’”

In addition to excellent programming opportunities, the 125 selected sites will also receive:

  • Up to $4,500 in grant funding, which can be used to purchase additional books, pay scholar honoraria 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.

ALA and NEH will accept online applications for Let's Talk About It: Muslim Journeys through March 29, 2013. To learn more and begin your application, visit

The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf is a project of NEH, conducted in cooperation with the ALA Public Programs Office, with support from the 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, 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

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 places. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at


Angela Thullen

Program Officer

Public Programs Office (PPO)