Shenandoah University’s Alson H. Smith, Jr. Library is now home to the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, a collection of books and materials designed to familiarize the American public with Islam and the cultural heritage of Islamic civilizations around the world.
“This collection will enable the library to directly support Shenandoah’s Going Global program and other mission-driven university initiatives that can help the university and broader communities develop understanding and respect for diverse cultures, experiences and perspectives,” said Director of University Libraries Chris Bean.
Acquired through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in collaboration with the American Library Association, the collection is the first in a planned series of Bridging Cultures Bookshelves. Through these bookshelves, the NEH will provide resources to enhance libraries’ collections and their capacity to engage audiences in reflection on and conversation about a variety of themes.
“This collection also gives us an opportunity to raise awareness of the university’s library resources among the broader community,” said Bean. Shenandoah University has partnered with the Valley Interfaith Council to do just that, and both organizations hope to communicate the importance of the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf resources to area residents.
“I’m delighted that Valley Interfaith Council could play a substantial role in securing this grant and want to make sure we do all we can to broaden the impact of the grant and increase understanding of Islam among our students and faculty, and the community,” said Valley Interfaith Council President Dr. John Copenhaver, who also serves as professor of Religion and Philosophy at Shenandoah.
The university’s College of Arts and Sciences, which partnered with Bean to complete the grant application process, will sponsor an event slated for Wednesday, March 20, to introduce the collection to the public and the university community. Dr. Terry Alford, author of “Prince Among Slaves,” one of the books in the collection, will be the guest of honor, and the event will include a reception in Smith Library and a screening of the documentary film of the same title based on Dr. Alford’s book.
The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, conducted in cooperation with the American Library Association. Support was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media components was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.