ALA, NEH bring “Soul of a People” grants to libraries


For Immediate Release

April 1, 2008

Contact: Angela Thullen

Program Officer, Communications

(312) 280-5286

ALA, NEH bring “Soul of a People” grants to libraries

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA), in partnership with Spark Media, an award-winning Washington, D.C.-based production and outreach company, is proud to present an innovative library outreach program to enhance and increase the nationwide impact of Spark Media’s documentary film, “Soul of a People: Voices from the Writers’ Project.” Major funding for the library outreach program has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The film and library outreach programs will acquaint public, academic and special library audiences with the story of the largest cultural experiment in U.S. history - the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration - told against the backdrop of the Depression and 1930s America. More information about “Soul of a People: Voices from the Writers’ Project” can be found at

Following an application process, 30 libraries will be selected to receive a $2,500 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to present five different public outreach programs during the period of the national broadcast of “Soul of a People” (projected for Spring 2009). The grants will be used for scholar honoraria, book purchases, publicity and other program-associated costs. Libraries will be asked to enlist from a local college or university a lead project scholar with expertise in American history, the WPA and/or the WPA era, to help present and plan programs, ensure that program content conveys intended humanities themes and work with local media and other partners in planning.

Librarians applying for “Soul of a People” grants must register their institution at Prospective applicants are advised to register with as soon as possible, since the process can take up to two weeks to complete. The application and guidelines for “Soul of a People” and complete instructions for registering and applying through may be found at Online applications must be completed by July 11. Applications may not be submitted through ALA.

Established in 1992, the ALA Public Programs Office has an exemplary track record 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 programs. Recently, it has established the Cultural Communities Fund, an endowment fund 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 about “Soul of a People: Voices from the Writer’s Project – Library Outreach Programs,” visit