Muslim Journeys Bookshelf Application FAQ

Must my library work with a scholar or community partner?
Libraries are not required to work with a scholar or a community partner in order to be eligible to receive the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf. National project scholars will prepare everything you need to host a basic program, including film introductions, thematic essays, discussion points for convening thought-provoking conversations about project themes (for books and films), and extensive recommended reading and viewing lists with annotations, ready to share with patrons looking to learn more. Libraries are, however, encouraged to recruit a partner if possible, as these relationships can add a great deal of value to your program, extending your reach, visibility, and impact.

What are the minimum programming requirements for a library interested in receiving the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf?
All libraries that receive the Bookshelf must agree to add the complete collection of materials to their circulating collection, and host at least one public event that introduces the books and the Muslim Journeys themes to the library’s patrons and broader community (e.g., screen one of the documentary films, host a poetry reading). Working with a community partner is encouraged but not required.

I noticed that the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf has been organized like a Let’s Talk About It (LTAI) programming series. Was there a grant available to support LTAI programs that use these books?
Yes! From January 15–March 29, 2013, ALA and NEH invited online applications for Let’s Talk About It scholar-led reading and discussion program series that focus on Muslim Journeys themes. In June 2013, 125 libraries will be selected to receive the grant, which will support programs taking place in libraries from September 2013–August 2014. NEH and ALA will select 125 libraries to present program series on each of the five Muslim Journeys themes. In order to be eligible for this round of programming grants, libraries must have received the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf.

Must libraries be selected to participate in the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf in order to have been eligible for a $4,500 cash grant to support reading and discussion programs in 2013?

How can I find my library’s DUNS number?
The NEH offers a webpage about DUNS numbers: what they are, why they’re needed, and how to find your library’s.

After the decisions have been made, will only successful applicants be notified?
No. All applicants will be notified by NEH. Libraries will be notified via e-mail by January 9, 2013. If your library has not received notification by January 10, 2013, you may contact ALA’s Public Programs Office at 1-800-545-2433, extension 5045, or

Do libraries have to return the books and other resources at the end of the program?
No, libraries are expected to keep the books and other materials and add them to their circulating collections.

Are there any long-term restrictions on how libraries may use these books?
Yes. Libraries are not permitted to sell the books and other materials after the grant period ends.

How were the books, films, and other resources chosen?
The resources comprising the Bookshelf were recommended, reviewed, and selected by distinguished scholars in the fields of anthropology, world history, religious studies, interfaith dialogue, the history of art and architecture, and world literature, as well as interdisciplinary fields such as Middle East studies, Southeast Asian studies, African studies, and Islamic studies. Six public libraries hosted focus groups to review many of the titles, and all titles were reviewed by ALA members with extensive library programming experience.

Will NEH substitute at our request other books about Muslim Journeys that are not on the Bookshelf list?

Are there any hidden charges such as shipping costs? Do libraries have to pay or commit funds for anything?
No. NEH will cover all costs associated with the books (for example, for shipping and for bookplates). Libraries are expected, however, to pay for the programs and publicity proposed in their applications.

May a branch library of a public library system apply for the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf if the parent library is also applying?
Yes, multiple libraries within a library system may apply for a Bookshelf. Each individual library must submit its own application, unless the library system submits applications on behalf of its member libraries. See the next question.

May a library system or consortium apply on behalf of its member libraries?
Yes. The application system enables the central office of a library system to apply on behalf of its eligible members, up to a limit of one hundred libraries. See the guidelines for additional instructions on how to complete the application. Note that an application on behalf of multiple libraries imposes special responsibilities on the Project Director. See the next question.

What are the responsibilities of the Project Director in cases where he or she represents one entity applying on behalf of multiple libraries?
A Project Director who submits an application on behalf of multiple libraries is responsible for communicating with each participating library about the project: for example, circulating the narrative statement, notifying them of the award, and ensuring that each library complies with the terms of the award.

Are individuals or organizations other than public, community college, or academic libraries, and state and territorial humanities councils, eligible to apply for a Bookshelf?
No, individuals and other organizations are not eligible to apply.

Are prison libraries eligible to apply for a Bookshelf?
Yes. Prison libraries are considered “public libraries” for the purposes of this grant opportunity. Applicants should select “public library” from the Library Type pull-down within the application.

Are military base libraries eligible to apply for a Bookshelf?
No. Libraries operated by federal entities, such as the Department of Defense or the Bureau of Indian Affairs, are not eligible to receive the Bookshelf from NEH.

May an academic library name another campus group or department as its community partner organization?
Yes. Any non-library organization or group is eligible to serve as the required community partner organization. However, the most competitive proposals will reach beyond the immediate environment to expand the reach of the library’s program. Academic librarians may wish to consider how they will recruit program participants from beyond the campus community, and address that in their proposals.