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Muslim journeys bookshelf

 

By Kathy Pillatzki
Assistant Director
Henry County Library System

  Every year, the National Endowment for the Humanities makes grants available to public and academic libraries throughout the country. Libraries that win the grant receive a collection of books, DVDs and publicity materials based on the year’s “Bookshelf” theme. In the past, Henry County libraries have received NEH grants based on the themes of Courage, We the People (American history), and Created Equal (civil rights and black history in America).

  The theme for the 2013 grant is Bridging Cultures: Muslim Journeys. In January, the NEH awarded the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf to 843 libraries and state humanities councils throughout the country. All five public libraries in Henry County were among the 44 grant winners in Georgia.

  Each library has received 25 books and four DVDs selected to help public audiences in the United States become more familiar with the people, places, history, faith, and cultures of Muslims around the world and within the U.S. The Bookshelf is intended to address both the need and the desire of the American public for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations.

  The books and films comprising the Bookshelf were selected with the advice of librarians and cultural programming experts, as well as distinguished scholars in the fields of anthropology, world history, religious studies, interfaith dialogue, the history of art and architecture, world literature, Middle East studies, Southeast Asian studies, African studies, and Islamic studies. All of the books and DVDs are now part of the circulating collection at each library.

  The grant also includes one year of free access to Oxford Islamic Studies Online, a database produced by Oxford University Press. It includes commentaries on and a concordance to the Qur’an, thematic guides and lesson plans for teachers, interviews with scholars and religious leaders, a new section on the Arab Spring, hundreds of maps and images, and a timeline of major events since the founding of Islam. The database can be accessed at www.henry.public.lib.ga.us. To access the database from home, contact your library and provide a current Henry County library card to receive a user name and password. No user name or password is required to access the database from a library computer. 

  To fulfill the conditions of the grant, each library will host at least one program in the coming year related to the theme of the Bookshelf. Programs, such as poetry readings, special speakers, or film viewings, will highlight the materials provided by the grant and promote cultural understanding. Programs will be free and open to the public, and will be announced as plans are finalized.

  The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, conducted in cooperation with the American Library Association, the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University, Oxford University Press, and Twin Cities Public Television. Support was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media components was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

 

 

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