Grant Information and Application

let's talk about it: love & forgiveness logo

Download the guidelines and application (Word).

How will "Let's Talk About It: Love & Forgiveness" programs work at my library?

Participating libraries choose one of the three themes and plan a five-part series of reading and discussion programs taking place every two to four weeks (depending on local library preference). The library is responsible for recruiting a scholar to lead the discussion, and promoting the programs to the widest possible public audience. Each of the themes includes a selection of five literary works to be read and discussed, accompanied by a scholarly essay.

The essay, written by project scholar Betty Sue Flowers, professor of English at the University of Texas and director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, will introduce each theme and illuminate discussion. Libraries will need to purchase and/or acquire books for their collections and for participant use.

What will participating libraries receive?

  • A grant of $2,500. This grant may be used to send the library project director and local scholar (if the library chooses to bring the scholar) to the training session, and for local scholar honorarium, program promotion, series books, and related titles.

  • Program materials, which include introductory literature and essays on each of the themes, selections for additional reading, and template promotional materials. Program materials will be downloadable via the project Web sites and for local use and maximum distribution. Libraries will also receive five posters to use to promote the series and 50 program folders for participants.

  • Access to the project electronic discussion list, including all participants and project staff.

  • An intensive training workshop required for library project directors. Program planning guides will be distributed at this session.

Important Dates

Application Deadline
July 15, 2008

Grant Award Notification
August 30, 2008

Project Director Training Workshop
October 3 & 4, 2008

Reading & Discussion Programs in Libraries
January 1 – June 1, 2009

Final Reports Due
July 31, 2009


  • Public libraries may apply.

  • Programs must be open to the public.

  • Libraries are encouraged to partner with local community organizations to promote and plan their programs.*

  • Each library must designate a library project director responsible for all administrative project details.

  • Project directors are required to attend the training workshop.

  • Eligible uses of grant funds are: local scholar honorarium, travel by library project director and scholar to training program, books, program promotion, and program materials.

  • Public libraries that have already applied for or received previous "Let's Talk About It" project grants may apply under the July 15, 2008 deadline, provided they have completed their funded programming and submitted the final project report.

* If a local PBS station is participating in the Fetzer Institute's Campaign for Love & Forgiveness, libraries are encouraged to partner with the PBS station. Communities with participating Campaign for Love & Forgiveness PBS stations include Charlotte, N.C., Baltimore, Md., St. Louis, Mo., Grand Rapids, Mich., San Diego, Calif., Rochester, N.Y. and Eureka, Calif. Contact the ALA Public Programs Office (800-545-2433, ext 5045) for additional information.


  • Submission of three copies of completed application form, signed by library director, with all required attachments.

  • Submission of two copies of a final report, including required statistics, submitted to ALA Public Programs Office no later than 60 days following the completion of the last program, or by the final report deadline.

  • Reading and discussion sessions must be led by a qualified scholar whose participation must be confirmed in application materials (see Review Criteria, below).

  • Required credit must be given to project sponsors in program and publicity materials.

Review Criteria:

  • Clarity and completeness of program plan. All required information, including planned dates, times and place where programs will be held, anticipated attendance and role of program partners, must be submitted and clearly described.

  • Qualifications of the project scholar . Each scholar should have a Ph.D. or advanced degree in English Literature, American Literature, or other related humanities subject. Current or past experience should include teaching literature at a university or college. He or she should be engaging and comfortable speaking before and facilitating discussion with adult audiences on themes related to the human condition, and in particular on themes of love and forgiveness. Scholar information should include name, title and two-page vita or bio.

  • The library's vision of the program. The program plan should describe how the "Let's Talk About It: Love & Forgiveness" series relates to the library's existing public programs and how the library envisions the program benefiting the community it serves (e.g., how the program will contribute to the community's cultural life).

  • Quality of publicity and audience recruitment plan, including explanation of the role of program partners. See FAQs on page 4 for examples of how partners participate. When possible, please include partner letters of support with your library's application.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Should I contact and confirm the program scholar before submitting the application?
A: Yes. Your application must include the name, title and vita or bio of a confirmed program scholar in order to be considered.

Q: Who is required to attend the training session?

A: The library project director is required to attend the October 3 & 4, 2008 training session in Chicago. The library may choose to bring the project scholar to the training session as well, but his or her attendance at the training is not required.

Q: I have recently served as project director for an ALA sponsored "Let's Talk About It" series. Will I be required to attend the training workshop?
A: Yes. This is the first time the Love & Forgiveness themes are being offered, therefore repeat project directors must attend the training workshop.

Q: Are academic, school and special libraries eligible to apply for this grant?
A: No. However, interested academic, school and special libraries are encouraged to partner with their local public library to assist with the program (e.g., encourage their users to participate, help to publicize the program).

Q: Is it better for my library system to apply as a whole, or can individual branches apply?
A: Either systems as a whole or individual branches are eligible to apply. It will depend on how your system is organized and the goals of your program plan.

Q: What qualifications does the scholar for this project possess?
A: The qualified scholar should have a Ph.D. or master's degree in English Literature, American Literature, or other related humanities subject; and experience speaking before and facilitating discussion with adult audiences on themes related to the human condition.

Q: Is my library's book discussion leader an appropriate scholar for this project?
A: Yes, as long as the book discussion leader has the appropriate academic credentials (see above).

Q: May multiple scholars lead the discussions?
A: No. Let's Talk About It: Love & Forgiveness is designed as a reading and discussion series facilitated by a single scholar. The intent of the single-scholar model is to nurture discussion, communication, comfortable dialogue, and a relationship between the program participants and the scholar over the five-session series.

Q: My library applied for a "Let's Talk About It" grant in the past, but we were not awarded the grant. Can we reapply?
A: Yes. Libraries are invited to reapply, but we strongly encourage you to contact the ALA Public Programs Office ( to find out why you were not awarded the grant and how to revise your application.

Q: How long should each "Let's Talk About It" session last?
A: An hour and a half to two hours is about right. Attendees will come prepared to discuss the book. The scholar will talk for about 15-25 minutes, group discussion will last for about an hour, and you need time for getting started, getting seated, wrapping up and, if needed, taking a break.

Q: What is the optimum size group for discussion programs?
A: There is no magic number. You want to make this program available to the largest number of people who will make an active commitment to participate. If your group is large, you can either break into smaller groups for discussion or plan to hold the program at additional times and/or locations. Asking people to sign up in advance for these programs is the best way to predict group size, as well as ensure a commitment to attendance.

Q: May multiple project directors coordinate the series?
A: No. A singe project director must be designated at each library site for the series.

Q: Can this series be presented at multiple sites?
A: No. The program must be held at one library.

Q: What role do project partners typically play in the "Let's Talk About It" series?
A: Project partners can be invaluable resources for marketing the program, identifying and providing access to scholars, creating supplemental projects, assisting with book distribution, and providing supplemental funding.

Q: How important are partners to this grant?
A: The presence of community partners indicates the library's ability to reach out to targeted audiences in the community, to generate community support and interest, and to capitalize on local resources. Partners help to paint the picture of the library's enthusiasm for the program.

Q: Are the project deadlines "postmark" or "receipt" deadlines?
A: Receipt. Applications under each project deadline must be received by the ALA Public Programs Office (50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611) on or before the deadline date. Late, incomplete, faxed or emailed applications will not be accepted.

Q: May applications be submitted electronically?
A: No. Applications and required attachments may not be submitted electronically.

If you require further information about "Let's Talk About It: Love & Forgiveness" grants, please contact:

"Let's Talk About It: Love & Forgiveness" Grants
Public Programs Office
50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
800-545-2433, ext 5045