Concordia Library Is ‘Bridging Cultures’

A new permanent collection of books and films exploring the many aspects of Islamic religion, art and literature is now available in the Carl B. Ylvisaker Library.

The collection may also be accessed from the library website in the collections section under the title “Muslim Journeys Bookshelf.”

Instructional librarian Virginia Connell says the Forum on Faith and Life and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association provided the materials to the college.

“With this collection, we’re trying at many levels to bridge cultures and foster stimulating conversations,” Connell says. “The collection supports an appreciation of the mixture of cultures in our Fargo-Moorhead communities.”

The program, called “Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys,” aims to familiarize the Fargo-Moorhead community with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims both locally and around the world.

Connell says community members may obtain a library user card for a one-time fee to use the collection. Students, faculty and staff have free access to the books and films.

“Our hope is that this collection will help our whole F-M community become more familiar with Muslim faith and culture,” Connell says. “The library wants to be a good resource for our campus and the broader community.”

An initial outreach will be a showing of the film “Koran by Heart” at 6:30 p.m. April 10 in Morrie Jones Conference Suite A-B, Knutson Campus Center. A panel discussion will follow the film led by Dr. Mona Ibrahim, Dr. Ahmed Afzaal and Dr. Yahya Frederickson.

“We think the timing of this gift to the library is appropriate given that so many new immigrants to the Fargo-Moorhead area are from Islamic countries,” Connell says. “Some of the books explore what it is like to grow up in America as a Muslim.”

The major themes in the collection include histories, literary reflections, art, memoirs, novels and spiritual principles.