NEH, ALA announce new funding opportunity, film title, webinars, deadline for Muslim Journeys Bookshelf

For Immediate Release
Tue, 08/21/2012


Angela Thullen

Program Officer

Public Programs Office (PPO)


Cash grants up to $4,500 will be available in January to support “Let’s Talk About It” programming

CHICAGO – The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, announced updates to the application process and grants available through the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys program. Available to public, academic and community college libraries, the program aims to familiarize public audiences in the United States with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world. Eligible libraries must host one public event that introduces the Muslim Journeys themes to the library’s patrons and broader community.

  •  The 1,000 sites selected to receive the “Muslim Journeys” Bookshelf will be eligible in January 2013 to receive a programming grant of up to $4,500 to support a Let’s Talk About It reading and discussion series. NEH and ALA will provide thematic essays, promotional support and professional training to prepare libraries for hosting the popular series in public, academic and community college libraries.
  • A third documentary film, “Koran By Heart,” was added to the collection of materials to be granted to the 1,000 successful applicants. Performance rights and comprehensive programming guides created especially for libraries for this film and two others (“Prince Among Slaves” and “Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World”) will be included with the grant.
  • Two free online learning sessions are available to introduce programming ideas for public and academic libraries featuring the “Muslim Journeys” Bookshelf. Representatives from NEH and ALA will be available during each of these sessions to answer questions related to the Bookshelf application process and the upcoming grant deadline for reading and discussion programs:
    • Public Libraries Bridging Cultures: Exploring Islamic History
      Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2 p.m. Central time
      Learn more and register
    • Outreach Opportunity for Academic Libraries: Bridging Cultures Bookshelf
      Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2 p.m. Central time
      Learn more and register
  • NEH and ALA have altered the partnership requirements of applicants in order to allow for greater flexibility in local implementation of Muslim Journeys Bookshelf programs. To be eligible to receive the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, libraries are strongly encouraged but not required to establish local partnerships.
  • Finally, to encourage a maximum number of submissions for the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf, NEH and ALA will extend the application deadline to Oct. 25 (previously Sept. 25). Only libraries that participate in the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf will be eligible to apply for a “Let’s Talk About It” cash programming grant for reading and discussion programming on Muslim Journeys themes.

All of the materials and resources included in the “Muslim Journeys” Bookshelf have been selected with the advice of scholars, librarians and cultural programming experts. For more information, including an FAQ, complete lists of books and films, thematic description and resources to help get your application started, visit or 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. 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