Congratulations to the 43 public libraries receiving grants for California Reads 2014! Focused on Karl Marlantes’ best-selling work of narrative non-fiction, What It Is Like to Go to War, our next statewide read will align with Cal Humanities’ new thematic initiative, War Comes Home, creating community-wide events across the state in fall 2014 that will increase understanding of the experiences of veterans and welcome them home.

In addition to supporting reading and discussion programs, the awards, ranging from $1,000 to $15,000, will enable the participating library systems (including over 340 branch libraries) to provide their communities with film and discussion programs, art exhibits, writing and other types of expressive art-making projects, concerts, dramatic performances, oral history collection activities, speakers, panels, real and virtual author events, forums, tours, veteran resource fairs, and civic engagement activities such as writing letters to or collecting books for distribution to veterans and active service members.  A special tour will bring veteran and scholar-author Marlantes to 10 communities this fall.

The participating libraries represent the geographic and cultural diversity of the state. In keeping with California’s large veteran population, many are located near military installations or in communities with sizable veteran populations (San Diego city and county have the second-largest concentration of veteran residents in the country).  All will be collaborating with veteran-serving organizations and public agencies to reach and engage veterans. Many are developing programs of special interest to veterans, their families, and supporters, and 10 are part of the California State Library’s own Veterans Resource Initiative.

Libraries will also partner with K-12 schools (a curriculum guide for teachers is  being developed), colleges and universities, service organizations and civic groups, social service agencies, local government officials and representatives, and museums, arts organizations, faith-based organizations, and social action and advocacy groups to make sure their  programs reach widely and deeply into their communities, and attract audiences that are diverse with respect to age, ethnicity, cultural background, educational level, class, and political views.

California Reads is a program of Cal Humanities in partnership with the California Center for the Book. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

For more information, click HERE or contact Sr. Program Officer Felicia Kelley at