Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature

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jewish literature: identity and imagination


Two New Themes and Increased Programming Grants

Grant awards for the 2008–2009 programs were announced January 31, 2008. See the
list of libraries receiving the current round of grants.

The American Library Association (ALA)
Public Programs Office (PPO) and
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, a gateway to Jewish literature, culture and ideas, are pleased to announce another round of grants for “Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature—Identity and Imagination,” a theme-based reading and discussion series. Public and academic libraries are eligible to apply.

Based on the “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion model pioneered nationally by ALA 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. Over the past four years, “Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature” grants have been awarded to more than 330 libraries nationwide. Participating libraries each host a five-part discussion series featuring one of six themes.

The two new themes and book selections are:

Neighbors: The World Next Door

  • A Journey to the End of the Millennium, A.B. Yehoshua

  • Red Cavalry, Isaac Babel

  • Neighbors, Jan T. Gross

  • The Assistant, Bernard Malamud

  • Mona in the Promised Land, Gish Jen

Modern Marvels: Jewish Adventures in the Graphic Novel

  • A Contract with God, Will Eisner

  • Maus I/II, Art Spiegelman

  • Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: Stories, Ben Katchor

  • The Quitter, Harvey Pekar

  • The Rabbi’s Cat, Joann Sfar

Previous themes, which also are included, are:

  • 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

  • A Mind of Her Own: Fathers and Daughters in a Changing World

Each library selected for the grant project will receive:

  • A $2,500 grant to support program costs and scholar honoraria.
  • Training for the library project director at a national training workshop where they will hear from project scholars, experts, and organizers, and receive a program planning guide, materials and ideas.
    The next training workshop will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, April 2–3, 2008, in San Francisco.
  • Program materials, including introductory literature and essays on each of the books, promotional materials, and selections for additional reading.

Libraries that have already received a grant and completed a “Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature” series are eligible to apply for a single-series $2,500 grant or a two-series $5,000 grant under each deadline.

The application deadline for the second round of grants was December 3, 2007.

“Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature—Identity and Imagination” is funded by a multi-year grant from Nextbook. For more information, please visit

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is a national initiative to promote books that illuminate 3,000 years of Jewish civilization. Nextbook’s programs include partnerships with public libraries to build collections and to create innovative public programs; annotated reading lists that guide readers to exciting works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; and a Web site featuring a daily cultural news digest with links to stories and reviews from around the world.

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