Record number of libraries selected to receive “Let's Talk About It” grants

Contact: Lainie Castle
Public Programs Office
For Immediate Release
February 16, 2007

Record number of libraries selected

to receive “Let’s Talk About It” grants

95 libraries, 31 states to conduct new discussion programs on “Jewish Literature” themes

CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office (PPO) and Nextbook, a gateway to Jewish literature, culture and ideas, selected 95 public and academic libraries to receive grants for Let's Talk About It: Jewish Literature and Imagination programs. This is the largest number of “Let’s Talk About It” grants ever awarded under a single application deadline.

The awards were the first of two new rounds of Let's Talk About It: Jewish Literature and Imagination grants awarded by ALA and Nextbook. The second and final round of Jewish Literature grants will be awarded in 2008.

Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature - Identity and Imagination is funded by a multi-year grant from Nextbook. Since 2004, ALA and Nextbook have awarded more than 250 grants to conduct Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature programs. The new round of grants marks the first time a national reading and discussion theme has been devoted to graphic novels.

Based on the “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion model pioneered nationally by ALA starting 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. Participating libraries will each host a five-part discussion series featuring one of six themes: Modern Marvels: Jewish Adventures in the Graphic Novel; Neighbors: The World Next Door; 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.

A total of 95 public and academic libraries have been selected to receive Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature grants. For a list of participating sites by state, please visit

Libraries selected for the project are required to promote and present a five-part discussion series based on one of the six themes for a public audience. Each series features discussion programs led by a local scholar. Selected libraries receive training for the library project director at a national training workshop in April 2007; program and promotional materials; and a $2,500 grant to support workshop travel, program costs and scholar honoraria.

Of the 95 participating libraries, 18 will receive $5,000 grants to conduct two consecutive program series. Only libraries that received Jewish Literature grants under a previous deadline were eligible for the double-program series grant.

For complete information, including an application for the December 2007 grant deadline, visit or

Nextbook is a national initiative to promote books that illuminate 3,000 years of Jewish civilization. Nextbook’s programs include: partnerships with public libraries and other organizations to create innovative public programs; a series of short books in which prominent authors take on notable individuals, issues, or events in Jewish history; and a Web site featuring a daily cultural news digest, original features, and annotated reading lists. Nextbook is a gateway to Jewish literature, culture, and ideas for Jews and non-Jews alike. For more information, visit

Established in 1992, the ALA Public Programs Office has developed nationally recognized library programming models and initiatives, including "Let's Talk About It," LIVE! @ your library®, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs on humanities themes, and more. Recently, it has established the Cultural Communities Fund, an endowment created to help all types of libraries across the country bring communities together through cultural programming ( More than 10,000 libraries and at least 10 million individuals have participated in library programming initiatives supported by the Public Programs Office. For more information, visit