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Collection Provides Education into the History and Culture of Muslims

The University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac Library has been awarded a grant for the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys, a collection of books, films, and other resources selected with the goal of familiarizing public audiences with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world.

UW-Fond du Lac has received 25 books, three films, and access for one year to Oxford Islamic Studies Online. These items were selected by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association (ALA) based on the advice of scholars, librarians, and other cultural programming experts.

At this critical time, it is essential that college campuses, public libraries and educators in general make a strong efforts to provide accurate, interesting and interdisciplinary information on Muslims, Islam and Muslim culture,” said John Short, UW-Fond du Lac CEO and Dean. “The need for public and general programming on Islamic civilizations in the past and Muslim culture today is absolutely essential.”

The Bookshelf is part of a competitive grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded to libraries around the country. Support for the development and distribution of the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York, with additional support for the arts and media components from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

The first in a planned series of Bridging Cultures “Bookshelves,” the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf project is a leading effort in NEH Chairman Jim Leach’s Bridging Cultures initiative, which has highlighted the importance of civility in American life and embraced the role of libraries in fostering community conversations that bring the humanities to the public in new ways. “There may be no institution more civil than the public library,” Leach said. “Libraries are centers of learning that offer a welcome space where members of the public can learn about the history we share and express different points of view in an ethos of openness and mutual respect.”

Local citizens may check out these materials using their NEW ERA (NorthEast Wisconsin Educational Resources Alliance) library card or via interlibrary loan requests through their local libraries. NEW ERA library cards may be obtained for free at the UW-Fond du Lac Library and other participating colleges.The Oxford Islamic Studies Online database may be searched on UW-Fond du Lac Library’s public computer.

All libraries that have received the Bookshelf are also eligible for upcoming public programming grant opportunities.


Laurie Krasin