by Melissa Ardery, Published March 26, 2013
YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University's Bruce T. Halle Library and the Ypsilanti District Library (YDL) have been awarded the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys, from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA).
The award consists of several DVDs, a year's subscription to the Oxford Islamic Studies online database, and a shelf of diverse books appropriate for high school and college students.
A reception will held Thursday, April 11, 4:30-6 p.m. at Eastern's Halle Library Carillon room followed by keynote speaker Stewart Gordon at 6 p.m. in room 300 Halle. This event is free and open to the public.
Gordon is a senior research scholar at the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author of several books including, "When Asia was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors and Monks Who Created the Riches of the East," which is a Muslim Journeys Bookshelf title.
The Muslim Journeys program is designed to familiarize the American public with Muslim history and culture. Both libraries are preparing free public programs including book displays, lectures and films.
According to NEH chairman Jim Leach, "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."
The books and films that comprise the bookshelf were carefully chosen with input from librarians, cultural experts and scholars.
"For EMU students, I am most excited about the free year's subscription to Oxford Islamic Studies Online," said Lisa Klopfer, associate professor in the Halle library. "For beginners there is, "What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam" by John Esposito."
For teachers, there are excellent lesson plans, says Klopfer, and for experts, the concordance and Qur'anic sources are truly remarkable.
The concordance is an alphabetical list of words present in a text along with citations. The Qur'an, also called the Koran, is the central religious text of Islam.
The bookshelf includes titles organized by such themes as American Stories; Connected Histories; Library Reflections; Pathways of Faith; Points of View; and Art, Architecture, and Film.