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Bloomfield Public Library Receives $5,000 Humanities Grant to Support an LGBTQ Studies and Social Engagement Program

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BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The Bloomfield Public Library has received a $5,000 incubation grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH) to experiment, plan, research, prototype, and examine new programs and topics. The proposal, which was approved for grant funding, titled Take Pride, Bloomfield!, will focus on examining LGBTQ issues from academic and cultural perspectives. Grant funding will be used to cover the cost of for group museum tours, book and film dissemination and discussion, and more events that study LGBTQ issues within the framework of the larger community.

“Bloomfield has always been on the cusp of social reform and Take Pride, Bloomfield! will invite members of the public to engage in deep, meaningful dialogues, through informative programs, materials, and speeches,” said Councilwoman Jenny Mundell, Bloomfield Council's liaison to the Library Board. “I am excited to see continued community involvement in social issues and would like to commend Director Belli and the Bloomfield Public Library for making this program a reality.”

BPL Director Holly Belli led the grant application and proposal process, which took place in July. She was inspired to submit the grant after the founding of Bloomfield Pride, an LGBTQ advocacy group established this year that participated in Memorial Day festivities and hosted a Pride Picnic event in June. This grant period begins November 1st, 2017. Belli will submit an interim report to NJCH by March 14th, 2018, and and a final report by October 31st, 2018.

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"It is a great honor to be selected by the NJ Council for the Humanities in support of Take Pride, Bloomfield! which will examine the narratives that shape the LGBTQ experience in Bloomfield and throughout America,” said BPL Director Holly Belli.  "I met with members of Bloomfield Pride both in person at their meetings and on Facebook to discuss what kinds of programming and discussions they would like to see offered through an NJCH Grant, and they came up with fantastic and insightful ideas for books, films, lectures, and tours. We hope our efforts will stimulate discussions and insights with the goal of moving our community closer to recognizing the common aspects of our collective story, as well as inspiring appreciation and respect for our differences.”

NJCH grant recipients require a project scholar who will help choose lecture materials and generally guide the recipient in meeting goals of the project. Director Belli invited Dr. Wartyna Davis, a 19-year tenured professor of the humanities at William Paterson University, and Bloomfield Councilwoman-At-Large, to to serve on this post. Councilwoman Davis is also a founding member of Bloomfield Pride.

“I am thrilled that the Bloomfield Public Library is joining civic organizations like Bloomfield Pride in the advocacy and education of issues important to the LGBTQ community. I look forward to the guest lectures, film and literature discussions that this grant funding will provide,” said Councilwoman Wartyna Davis. “Bloomfield is a progressive town full of people willing to engage with issues pertaining to the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality, and this grant funding provides a great opportunity to do exactly that.”

NJCH was founded in 1972 with the purpose of funding programs that brought humanities perspectives to bear on contemporary public policy issues. Its four primary goals are to build new audiences for the humanities, to bring people of different perspectives and backgrounds together, to innovate new program models, and to create lively humanities programs. NJCH awards $5,000 incubation grants twice yearly for organizations to experiment, plan, research, and examine new programs and topics, along with one $20,000 action grant to implement, expand, or continue programs. Bloomfield Pride meets the second Wednesday of each month at the Bloomfield Civic Center, 84 Broad St. from 7:00 to 8:30 PM.

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