Themes, Books, and Materials

Themes and Essays

The books selected for the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf have been organized by five themes: American Stories, Connected Histories, Literary Reflections, Pathways of Faith, and Points of View. These theme-specific, five-book groups will serve as the foundation for Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys reading and discussion program grants.

National project scholars have written thoughtful and reflective essays that inform each theme. Each thematic essay is a discussion tool and guidepost for local scholar and participant alike. Each Let’s Talk About It participant should be given the essay in advance of the first discussion session. Thirty printed copies will be mailed to participating libraries, and additional copies of the essay may be downloaded and printed from the theme pages above.

Grant Payments and Book Orders

All libraries and state humanities councils that submitted a Grant Acceptance Form by the May 23 deadline should receive their grant payment by mail, no later than June 14. If you have not received your check by June 14, please contact for more information.

Grant payments were distributed with instructions for ordering Muslim Journeys books through Baker & Taylor for discounts of up to 40% off retail. Grantees may download and complete the Baker & Taylor order form (Excel, password required; contact for access instructions). Participating sites are in no way required to purchase books through any particular vendor.

As of May 2013, there are limited quantities in stock of many of the Muslim Journeys titles. Therefore, ALA is urging all grant recipients to order their print materials as soon as possible. This way, if a reprint is necessary, there will be ample time for your materials to arrive before programs begin.

Libraries participating in LTAI Muslim Journeys may wish to download selected readings from The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States (PDF, password required—contact for assistance), edited by Edward E. Curtis IV. The publisher has provided permission for participating sites to download, print and distribute these readings during the term September 1, 2013–August 31, 2014, using the following credit line: ©2007 Columbia University Press; used by arrangement with the Publisher, all rights reserved.

Ordering Books (Print and Digital)

If your library regularly hosts reading and discussion programs, you will already have policies and practices in place for making books available to patrons. Whether reading and discussion programs are new to your library or not, here are the most common strategies for ensuring that patrons have access to the books:

  • The library provides the books: Ideally you will provide one book for each participant for each program in the series. Larger systems may be able to gather enough copies from their branches and through interlibrary loan to respond to the demands of participants, particularly if multiple Muslim Journeys Bookshelf awards were received locally. Most libraries create a budget to purchase multiple copies of each title in addition to any they have gathered. In either case, plan in advance and place copies of the books on reserve for Let’s Talk About It participants.
  • Participants purchase their own copies: Even when the books are available through the library, participants often want to purchase their own copies to annotate as they go along. It can be helpful to contact local bookstores and let them know about the Let’s Talk About It series far in advance. Bookstores can be a valuable partner in publicity and will often agree to offer a discount on purchases of books for the series. Note that some of the books on the Muslim Journeys reading lists are available in limited quantities and may require reprinting, so greater lead-time for orders is strongly recommended.
  • Exchanges with other participating Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys libraries: Many libraries participating in this program will communicate with each other via the Let’s Talk About It electronic discussion list (see Online Resources) and may wish to work out book sharing, buying, and exchange arrangements based on differing program schedules.

TIP: Consider putting together program “kits” that pre-registered participants can check out. Kits might include the first book and the participant folder (containing essays, bookmark, and a flyer with meeting times and dates). For future sessions, participants can trade in the title discussed that night for the next title in the series, adding it to their kit.

Costs and quantities: Many libraries choose to purchase paperback editions of the books whenever they are available, in an effort to keep costs down. Because book orders should be placed in advance of pre-registration deadlines, the number of books you order will usually be based on your audience estimate.

Also, when estimating quantities, keep in mind that publicizing the Let’s Talk About It programs may create demand for the titles among those who want to read the books but do not have the time to participate.

The possibility of higher-than-estimated participation is another reason to contact local bookstores in advance and work out favorable purchasing arrangements for participants. Encourage the bookstores to create window displays featuring Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys books and publicizing the discount.

E-books: You may wish to purchase e-book versions of any Muslim Journeys title that is available, via your usual e-book vendor.

To access information about ebook availability, please see the public list in WorldCat, Muslim Journeys Bookshelf Collection.