Let’s Talk About It brings together humanities scholars and adult readers in public libraries to read and discuss fine literature which explores topics such as American values, history, and culture. Program participants expand their reading interests, meet new people, and explore important cultural issues in the context of their own lives and the lives of others. Program speakers are educators or experts in various humanities fields. These scholars enjoy meeting avid readers in Idaho’s communities while gaining new perspectives on literature that helps them enrich their teaching and research.
How it works
The Let’s Talk About It program brings together local libraries with humanities scholars to host a series of enhanced book discussion sessions on a particular theme. Each session focuses on a different book within the theme, and the sessions are generally hosted by a different visiting scholar each time. Participants can attend one or all of the discussion sessions hosted by their local library.
Local libraries apply to participate in the program and select a theme that will resonate with their community. Libraries are responsible for promoting the program in their community, recruiting program participants, hosting the discussion sessions, and collecting feedback.
The ICfL provides book sets to libraries for use in the program, as well as promotional materials. The ICfL also recruits and schedules scholars to facilitate each local discussion session.
The Idaho Humanities Council provides the bulk of funding for the program to support expenses related to scholar time and travel, purchasing books, and developing new program content. The IHC also assists with recruiting scholars and providing other technical support and guidance.
History of Let’s Talk About It
Idaho Let’s Talk About It program began in 1985 with six pilot program series in southwestern Idaho. During the past 33 years, programs have been held in over 80 communities across the state, from Bonners Ferry in the tip of the northern panhandle to Montpelier in the southeastern corner of the state. Annually, fifteen or more libraries are selected to participate. The program is modeled after the national Let’s Talk About It project developed by the American Library Association. This model allows participating libraries to host a series of discussions, each featuring a book related to the series theme. Participants are encouraged to read the book prior to the discussion session. At each session, a guest speaker presents information on the book, the author, issues and topics presented in the book, and how all this information relates to the theme. Following the presentation, participants engage in discussion centered around the book and the theme.
The Let’s Talk About It program is made possible through funding from the Idaho Humanities Council and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. On behalf of participating libraries, we would like to thank our sponsors.