DeKalb Library Branches Receive Collections Focusing on Muslim History and Culture Print E-mail

Four DeKalb County Public Library branches have received an important National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant this January. The Decatur, Clarkston, Northlake-Barbara Loar and Stonecrest branches are among 842 libraries and state humanities councils across the nation to receive the grant. It provides a collection of 25 books, three films and other resources aimed at introducing the American public to trustworthy information about the complex history, culture and beliefs of Muslims in the United States and around the world.

Fourth District Congressman Hank Johnson says the grant will help libraries serve the community in a very important way.

"Our libraries are where we share different perspectives, learn about history and develop our understanding of the wider world," he said. "I'm pleased that several DeKalb libraries received this NEH grant to help foster greater knowledge and understanding of the rich history and culture of Muslims in the United States and around the world. It's through education that we foster bonds of unity between and among people of diverse backgrounds, leading to a more peaceful society."

Grant facilitator Kitty Wilson says the materials will be part of DeKalb County Public Library's continuing effort to provide patrons with information that fosters community conversations and encourages civility.

"Last fall, we did programs at the Stonecrest branch aimed at fostering understanding and civility as part of a grant from the American Library Association Public Programs Office and the Fetzer Institute. And in 2011, the Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams branch was one of just six libraries asked to organize community focus groups to read and discuss books for possible inclusion in the current Muslim Journeys Bookshelf," she noted.

Ms. Wilson said all four branches that received the grant will do programs during the year to further highlight the books and other materials provided. Titles in the grant include:

  • Acts of Faith: the Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by Eboo Patel—his moving story of growing up Muslim in the United States
  • In an Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh, an account of the life of a twelfth-century Indian slave who lived in a remote corner of Egypt
  • Minaret by Leila Aboulela, a novel about a young Muslim woman—once privileged and secular in her native land and now impoverished in London—gradually embracing her orthodox faith.
  • To see the complete list online, go to the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf Collection page. All the materials will be available for check-out at the Library beginning March 1.

    The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys grant is a project of the NEH in cooperation with the American Library Association, the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University, Oxford University Press and Twin Cities Public Television. Additional support was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.


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