An “Introduction to Islamic Art and Culture” presentation will be held Monday, September 23, 6:30 p.m., in the Black River Technical College Library in Pocahontas, according to BRTC Librarian Anne Simpson. The program is part of a series of seminars intended to give a better understanding of different cultures.
The BRTC Library is one of four libraries and state humanities councils in Arkansas and one of 843 across the country, selected to receive the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf Collection from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. It is a collection of resources on the history and culture of Muslims in the United States and around the globe. The collection includes 25 books, three films, and access for one year to Oxford Islamic Studies Online.
The bookshelf was developed by the NEH and the ALA based on expert advice from scholars, librarians, and other public programming experts. Muslim Journeys is the first in a planned series of Bridging Cultures Bookshelves. “This current bookshelf program emphasizes the important role libraries play in fostering conversations among community members,” Simpson explained. “The program is intended to address both the need and the desire of the American public for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices as well as the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations.” The BRTC Library applied for this program last summer and was awarded the bookshelf in January.
“We are honored and take great pride in the fact that our library was selected as a community center for discussions about Islam,” said Simpson. “This award coincides with the library’s mission to provide materials and discussions about Islam from an intellectually and culturally rich perspective.”
The college received support from the grant from Bill Carroll of Pocahontas who is a subject matter expert on the Middle East and Islam. Support was also provided by the Eddie Mae Heron Center and the Randolph County Public Library. In addition, BRTC faculty members and local ministers encouraged this endeavor. The books are available not only to students, faculty, and staff at BRTC, but also to the entire community. “Our goal is to support classroom instruction as well as resources for our area while nurturing and developing lifelong skills for using the library to assist with information needs,” stated Simpson.
In addition to the NEH and ALA, this program is made possible with a generous gift from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
The event is free and open to the public. Additional events for the collection will be announced as they are scheduled. For more information on the collection, contact Anne Simpson at the BRTC library at 870-248-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.