New at the library

Peter White Public Library is one of 840 libraries and state humanities councils across the United States selected to receive the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

The collection includes 29 books and three DVDs categorized by six themes. The program aims to familiarize patrons with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world.

The books and films comprising the Bookshelf were selected with the advice of librarians and cultural programming experts, as well as distinguished scholars in the fields of anthropology, world history, religious studies, interfaith dialogue, the history of art and architecture, world literature, Middle East studies, Southeast Asian studies, African studies and Islamic studies.

  • American Stories – Developed by Kambiz Ghanea Bassiri, Reed College.

While the large presence of Muslims in the United States dates to the 1960s, Muslims have been a part of the history of America since colonial times. American Muslims’ stories draw attention to ways in which people of varying religious, cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds interact to shape both their communities’ identities and our collective past.

A Quiet Revolution by Leila Ahmed; Prince Among Slaves by Terry Alford; The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States edited by Edward E. Curtis IV; Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel; and The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam by G. Willow Wilson

  • Connected Histories – Developed by Giancarlo Casale, University of Minnesota.

Centuries before the dawn of the modern age, the world was already a surprisingly interconnected place. Readings for this theme introduce a way of understanding the past in which Islam and the West are seen as products of a shared, cosmopolitan, and inextricably intertwined past. These books help envision the world of our ancestors, which was as complex and dynamically interconnected as the world we live in today.

The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance by Jim Al-Khalili;

In an Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh; When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks Who Created the “Riches of the East” by Stewart Gordon; Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf, translated by Peter Sluglett; The Ornament of the World by Maria Rosa Menocal

  • Literary Reflections – Developed by Leila Golestaneh Austin, Johns Hopkins University.

Islam has long provided a source of inspiration through which Muslims experience, understand, and guide their everyday lives. The readings for this theme can be seen as literary reflections on Muslim piety and communal concepts such as ethics, governance, knowledge, and identity. Each one reveals transformations in faith and identity, as Muslims living at different times and in different places have interpreted Islamic traditions to meet their distinctive cultural realities and spiritual needs.

Minaret by Leila Aboulela; The Arabian Nights (anonymous), edited by Muhsin Mahdi, translated by Husain Haddawy; The Conference of the Birds by Farid al-Din Attar, translated by Dick Davis and Afkham Darbandi; Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi; and Snow by Orhan Pamuk, translated by Maureen Freely.

The remaining themes are:

  • Pathways of Faith
  • Points of View, and
  • Art, Architecture and Films

– Heather Steltenpohl

Development Director