News and Features
WASHINGTON (May 22, 2013) – The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, announced that 125 libraries and state humanities councils will receive programming grants of $3,500 - 4,500 to host a Let’s Talk About It reading and discussion series featuring some of the materials included in the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys. The selected sites represent 54 public libraries, 47 academic libraries, 11 community college libraries and 13 state humanities councils in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
Most of us have encountered Islamic art in one form or another. Oriental rugs, white ceramic dishware decorated in cobalt blue, and buildings with horseshoe-shaped arches can be found throughout the United States and around the world, and are vaguely understood to be “Islamic” in some way. But what makes a work of art “Islamic”? The Islamic Art Spots a seven visual essays written and presented in a series of short films especially for the Muslim Journeys project by art historian D. Fairchild Ruggles. Subjects include calligraphy, mosques, gardens, textiles, geometrical patterns, and miniature paintings.
“Through these stories, our patrons will learn about Islamic beliefs, culture, history and society while being captivated by the personal struggles and triumphs of people much like themselves.” This is the promise of the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, according to Amanda Mohr, a librarian at the Glen Carbon (IL) Centennial Library. Lively Muslim Journeys programs are taking place around the country, including these in Minnesota and Oregon.
In January 2013, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), in cooperation with the American Library Association, awarded to 953 libraries and state humanities councils in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, a collection of books, films, and other resources that will introduce the American public to the complex history and culture of Muslims in the United States and around the world. A complete list of institutions selected to receive a Bookshelf is available here. Support for this program was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.