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MC receives grant for Muslim discussion series

Monmouth College’s Hewes Library is one of 47 academic libraries to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, to host a “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series.
The series will be a follow-up to an NEH/ALA grant received earlier this year, which included programming based on the acquisition of a collection of 25 books and four DVDs on the theme “Muslim Journeys.”
“Two informative and historical programs were presented by Monmouth faculty on Islam and Muslim history in America to the community, along with a film and a community Sufi poetry reading,” said Hewes Library director Rick Sayre. “We were encouraged by the participation in our spring programs to apply for a more selective follow-up grant offered by the NEH & ALA. We have a core group of committed local scholars at Monmouth College who are excited to be a part of the ‘Let’s Talk About It’ series. Professors Petra Kuppinger, Farhat Haq and Hannah Schell, along with one outside scholar, will lead the discussions of the five titles from the ‘Muslim Journeys: American Stories’ theme that we have adopted.”
The discussions will be on the following titles: “Prince Among Slaves” by Terry Alford; “The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States,” edited by Edward E. Curtis IV; “Acts of Faith” by Eboo Patel; “A Quiet Revolution” by Leila Ahmed; and “The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam” by G. Willow Wilson.
“We appreciate the opportunity to continue working with the Buchanan Center for the Arts, our community partner this past spring, for the use of their facilities for programs and for their contribution to the promotion of our programming,” said Sayre. “We will also look forward to working with our local chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) , which has a long-standing tradition of book discussion programming.”
In addition, the library will collaborate on additional programming with selected films and other outside speakers throughout the year.
“Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys” follows the popular “Let’s Talk About It” model, which engages participants in discussion of a set of common texts selected by a nationally known scholar for their relevance to a larger, overarching theme. Overall, 125 sites were selected by the NEH, and they will receive:
• Up to $4,500 in grant funding which can be used to purchase books, pay scholar honoraria and support travel to a national workshop.
• Promotional materials, including posters, bookmarks and folders, to support local audience recruitment efforts.
• Orientation for the library project director and scholar at a national workshop, where they will hear from national project scholars, expert librarians and organizers and receive a program planning guide, materials and ideas.
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, exhibitions and programs in libraries, museums and other community places.