Area librarians attend Muslim Journeys workshop at Fall For the Book
As its contribution to Fall For the Book 2012, the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies invited librarians from around the Washington metropolitan area to gather at Mason on September 27 for a workshop on the forthcoming Bridging Cultures Bookshelf/Muslim Journeys.
Part of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Bridging Cultures initiative, the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf is a set of over 20 books selected by a national group of scholars to be distributed nationwide to over 1,000 libraries. With this set of titles, the project aims to familiarize the public with the diverse people, places, history, faith, and cultures of Muslims both in America and around the world. Libraries that receive the set will also hold public programs related to its books to directly engage their readers with the rich subject matter found in the Bookshelf.
The purpose of the workshop was to introduce the Bookshelf project and some of its themes and titles, as well as to generate ideas for public programs at libraries. Librarians are in the process of preparing competitive applications for the Bookshelf, so it was a chance for them to enhance their proposals with help from scholars working on the project. Susan Douglass, Senior Research Associate at the Center, is working on content for the Bookshelf’s companion website, which she previewed for the librarians at the start of the workshop.
Kambiz Ghanae-Bassiri, author of A History of Islam in America and NEH National Scholar for the project, followed with an overview of the project’s “American Stories” theme and book selections. In the second half of the workshop, the project’s Principal Investigator Peter Mandaville, Director of the Ali Vural Ak Center and Associate Professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs, gave an overview of the contemporary “Points of View” theme and books, focusing on current events in the Arab world and South Asia.
After each presentation, the participants split into breakout groups to explore additional materials related to the books and discuss the possibilities for holding events at their libraries. These sessions produced a number of exciting ideas, reflecting the librarians’ enthusiasm for bringing the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf to their institutions and engaging the public with relevant programs.
Participants left the workshop with a clear sense of what the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf has to offer and how it can inspire a range of different public programs. Each librarian was also given instructions on how to apply for the Bookshelf if they had not yet had the chance. The application deadline has been extended into October, so librarians who are interested in the Bookshelf and holding public events about its titles have until the end of the month to submit their application.
October 02, 2012