UM’s Carmichael Library One of 33 Academic Libraries Nationwide Awarded Humanities Grant

The University of Montevallo’s Carmichael Library was selected as one of 200 libraries nationwide, and one of only 33 academic libraries, to receive an American Library Association’s American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grant, awarded to libraries recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are honored to be selected for this national grant and are excited about the programs we will be hosting for the UM community,” said Dr. Sheila Brandt, systems and digital services librarian and assistant professor.

With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the libraries – selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process – will use funds to anchor themselves as strong humanities institutions and vibrant centers of learning , conversation and connection. This will be accomplished by creating or preserving jobs; supporting or maintaining general operations; creating or sustaining humanities programs; and implementing new humanities activities or sustaining existing activities, according to the release.

“Libraries have faced significant hardships throughout the pandemic – from budget cuts to staff furloughs to building closures – especially in our communities of the greatest need,” said ALA President Patty Wong. “This crucial support from NEH will enable our beloved institutions, and the dedicated people who run them, to rebuild and emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.”

Carmichael Library will use the $10,000 grant to fund several author presentations in mid-April in support of the annual Pat Scales Lecture Series and a day of events acknowledging the legacy of King House and other local histories. The Pat Scales Lecture Series brings a scholar, author or illustrator to campus each spring to speak about issues related to children’s or young adult literature, including intellectual freedom.

The featured authors will share a local perspective of either living in Alabama and/or writing about an Alabama historical event. Their presentations will highlight the historical research behind their works.

The lecture series presentations are:

  • Why We Must Remember: King House and “African Town” in the Carmichael Library, JA Brown Room, April 14, 9 am to 3:15 pm

    – Melanie Morrison, author of “Murder on Shades Mountain,” will present “A King Descendant’s Reckoning with Her Slaveholding Ancestors” at 9:30 am

    – Irene Latham and Charles Waters, authors of “African Town,” will present “Lessons from the Survivors of the Last Slave Ship and the Founding of African Town” at 11 am

    – Tours of the King House and workshops led by Morrison from 12:30-3:15 pm

  • “African Town” Book Talk at Parnell Memorial Library, April 14, 4 p.m.

    – A Book Talk with Irene Latham and Charles Waters, authors of “African Town”

  • Pat Scales Lecture Series: The Cat Man of Aleppo in Carmichael Library, Pat Scales Special Collections Room, April 19, 2 pm

    – A Book Talk with Irene Latham and Karim Shamsi-Basha, authors of the Caldecott Honor-winning book, “The Cat Man of Aleppo”

“With these funds, we are able to offer some exciting events in April featuring authors who share a local perspective, either living in Alabama and/or writing about an Alabama historical event,” Brandt said. “Their presentations will highlight the research behind their works. We are thrilled to be able to provide these humanities events at Carmichael Library, and we thank the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities for this opportunity.”

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