Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys

Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys is a scholar-led reading and discussion program designed to foster opportunities for informed community conversations about the histories, faith, and cultures of Muslims around the world and within the United States. Available only to sites that have been selected to receive the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys offers up to $4,500 in grant funding to support more in-depth exploration of select titles included in the Bookshelf collection.

ALA and NEH invited the humanities councils and public, academic, and community college libraries that are participating in the Bookshelf to apply for Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys. Online applications were accepted from January 15–March 29, 2013.

In May 2013, NEH and ALA selected 125 libraries and humanities councils to participate in the project. Each participating site will focus on one of five Muslim Journeys themes, hosting a five-part, scholar-led reading and discussion series exploring the theme and related books. Applicants were notified of their award status on May 15, 2013, and programs will take place during the grant term, September 1, 2013–August 31, 2014.

Selected libraries will receive:

  • A $3,500 cash grant. This may be used to purchase multiple copies of the books and for other project-related programming expenses, including honoraria for scholars, publicity, expenses related to attendance at a required orientation workshop during summer 2013, and for support of supplemental programs described in successful applications. Grant funds may not be used to support indirect costs (i.e., general administrative expenses).
  • An optional $1,000 cash grant. Libraries may apply for an additional $1,000 to support participation by a local project scholar in one of the orientation workshops. The $1,000 is available only if a local scholar from the host library participates in an orientation session. Participation by a scholar is encouraged but not required.

Selected humanities councils will receive:

  • A $4,500 cash grant. This may be used for programming costs related to offering a scholar-led reading and discussion series on the selected Muslim Journeys theme in at least two different venues, with each series consisting of at least five sessions, and to support optional participation by the council’s project director and/or a local project scholar in the orientation workshop in Chicago (June 26–27, 2013) or Denver (August 15–16, 2013).

All selected sites will receive:

  • Access to Oxford Islamic Studies Online. Sites selected to participate in Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys will receive an extension to their institutional subscriptions to Oxford Islamic Studies Online (through December 31, 2014).
  • Inclusion at an orientation workshop (June 26–27, 2013, in Chicago, or August 15–16, 2013, in Denver). Workshops are designed for library project directors and local project scholars, offering instruction, networking opportunities, and participation in a model reading and discussion program. Materials and some meals will be provided; travel and lodging expenses must be covered by the library using grant funds or other outside support. Attendance is required for library project directors, and optional for local scholars and humanities council project directors.
  • A suite of printed and electronic promotional materials. To help promote local program series, ALA and NEH will provide copies of the thematic essay, folders, bookmarks, and project publicity posters These materials will also be available in digital format for customization and download.
  • A Site Support Notebook, which will offer resources to assist in planning the series, setting program goals, working with the local project scholars, recruiting community partners, facilitating discussion group meetings, promoting the series, developing thematically related supplemental programs, budgeting, and evaluating the program.
  • Technical and programming support from the ALA Public Programs Office throughout the grant term, including participation in an online discussion list for library and state and territorial council project directors.

Workshop Details

For planning purposes, the following information is being provided about the national orientation workshops for Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys. Library project directors are required to attend a one-and-a-half-day workshop, and will be invited to express a date and location preference through the online application.

Workshop attendance is optional for local scholars and state and territorial humanities council project directors.

  • June 26–27, 2013
    The June workshop will be held at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, 221 North Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL 60601. Standard room rates for workshop participants will be $254.91 per night, with taxes and fees included. Workshop hours will be from 3–6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26, and from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. on Thursday, June 27. Download the workshop agenda (PDF).
  • August 15–16, 2013
    The August workshop will be held at the Grand Hyatt Denver, 1750 Welton Street, Denver, CO 80202. Standard room rates for workshop participants will be $200.81 per night, with taxes and fees included. Workshop hours will be from 3–6 p.m. on Thursday, August 15, and from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. on Friday, August 16.

Planning a Successful Proposal

Those who are not familiar with the Let’s Talk About It program model should also review the Let’s Talk About It Planners Guide (PDF) for basic information about how to plan a successful program proposal. Proposals that do not follow the program model described in the Guidelines and Planners Guide are unlikely to be successful.