Editor’s Note: This week we’ll be highlighting Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys programs at two academic libraries. Awarded to more than 950 humanities councils and public, academic, and community college libraries, the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf is a collection of books, films, and other resources chosen with a view to familiarizing the American public with Islam and the cultural heritage of Islamic civilizations around the world. In return for receiving a Bookshelf, selected libraries are required to organize programs that introduce the books and the Muslim Journeys themes to the library’s patrons and the broader community.
Up first is the Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) Library in Albuquerque. CNM is the largest community college in New Mexico, and serves more than 30,000 students. We asked Bridget O’Leary, CNM Library Instruction Coordinator, to share details on her library’s Muslim Journeys programming.
Programming Librarian: How is your library utilizing the Bookshelf to create programs?
Bridget O’Leary: We are collaborating with two mosques, CNM Arabic language classes, CNM religious studies classes, New Mexico Humanities Council, and University of New Mexico professors to discuss themes in the collection.
PL: What are some challenges you’ve faced and overcome? How did you overcome them?
O’Leary: It is hard to get everything done on time. We collaborate. That’s the only way to overcome the time-crunch.
PL: Have you received any local support, developed any partnerships, gained any additional financial aid?
O’Leary: We have received generous support from local mosques and teachers in the college. We haven’t found more financial aid yet, but we are applying for the Let’s Talk About It grant.
PL: What kind of community reaction/response (if any) has there been to the Bookshelf?
O’Leary: We have had positive response from many sections of our community, religious, academic, and social. We even heard from the office of our state representative, Michelle Lujan Grisham.
PL: What are the specific dates and times of your upcoming programming events?
O’Leary: Our February 28 kick-off event featured poetry from Salih Kemp and music from Zevk Ensemble. We’ll also be offering three film screenings with discussion panels for Prince Among Slaves, Koran By Heart, and Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World.