Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys Application FAQ

My library did not apply for or receive the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys. Are we eligible to apply for this programming grant?
No. To be eligible to apply, libraries must have received the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf. If your library did not receive a Muslim Journeys Bookshelf but would like to apply for a Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys award, you may submit an application in partnership with a library in your area that did receive the Bookshelf. Alternatively, you may wish to review the list of Bookshelf awardees to see if the humanities council in your state or territory is included. If so, consider contacting the council, encouraging an application, and expressing an interest in hosting a program with its support.

Are state and territorial humanities councils eligible to apply for Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys grants?
Yes, state and territorial humanities councils are also eligible to apply, but only if they received the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf.

Should I contact and confirm the local project scholar(s) before submitting the application?
Yes. In order to be considered, your application must include the name, title, and vita or biography of the local project scholar who has confirmed his or her participation

Who is required to attend the orientation session?
Library project directors must attend either the June 2013 orientation session in Chicago or the August 2013 orientation in Denver. (Attendance is optional for humanities council project directors.) At least one local project scholar is strongly encouraged to attend an orientation session.

Are institutions other than public, academic, or community college libraries eligible to apply for this grant?
State and territorial humanities councils are also eligible to apply for this grant.

Other organizations, such as high school libraries, historical societies, and interfaith groups, are encouraged to contact their local public library (if it received the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf in January 2013) to explore partnering opportunities. Such organizations can, for example, participate in drafting the application, encourage their users to participate, and help publicize the program.

What qualifications must the local project scholar possess?
The local project scholar should have a Ph.D. or another advanced degree in world history, world literature, religious studies, Islamic or Near East studies, or another related humanities subject. In addition, he or she should be an experienced, engaging speaker, who can facilitate discussion with adult audiences on humanities themes.

Is my library’s book discussion leader an appropriate scholar for this project?
Yes, as long as the book discussion leader has the appropriate academic credentials (see previous question).

May multiple scholars lead the discussions?
Your reading and discussion series may be facilitated by a single scholar or by several different scholars. Over the years, however, the single-scholar model has demonstrated its value for fostering discussion, communication, comfortable dialogue, and a relationship between the program participants and the scholar over the five-session series.

My library applied for a Let’s Talk About It grant in the past, but it did not receive the grant. Can we apply?
Yes. Libraries are invited to reapply, but we strongly encourage you to contact the ALA Public Programs Office (publicprograms@ala.org) to find out why the previous application was unsuccessful and to receive suggestions for improving the application.

How long should each Let’s Talk About It session last?
An hour and a half to two hours is about right. Attendees will come prepared to discuss the readings. The scholar should talk for about fifteen to twenty-five minutes, and group discussion should last for about an hour. You should include a small amount of additional time to get started, to wrap up, and (if needed) to take a break.

What is the best group size for discussion programs?
There is no magic number. The program should be available to the largest number of people who will make an active commitment to participate in it. If the group is large, you can break into smaller groups for discussion; alternatively, you can hold the program at additional times or in additional locations. Asking people to sign up in advance for these programs is the best way to predict group size, as well as to ensure a commitment to attend.

May multiple project directors coordinate the series?
No. A single project director must be designated to oversee the five-part series.

Can this series be presented at multiple sites?
In the case of grants awarded to humanities councils, an entire series of five programs must be presented in at least two different venues.

What role do project partners typically play in the Let’s Talk About It series?
Project partners can be invaluable for marketing the program, identifying and providing information about scholars, creating supplemental projects, assisting with book distribution, and providing supplemental funding.

How important are partners to this grant?
The presence of community partners shows that the library can reach out to targeted audiences in the community, generate community support and interest, and capitalize on local resources. The ability to recruit partners helps demonstrate the library’s enthusiasm for the program.

May applications be submitted in hard copy?
No. Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. Central Time, on March 29, 2013. Applications that are late or incomplete will not be reviewed.