Cal Humanities

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

Diving Into Design with California Humanities’ 2024 Library Innovation Lab Cohort 

We were delighted to announce the awards for the 2024 iteration of our Library Innovation Lab (LIL) program earlier today, which will bring librarians from 10 California public libraries together in a learning community experience through the end of the year. 

These librarians represent a wide range of professional experience (early, mid, and late career), backgrounds (children’s, teen, and adult librarians), and interests in working with different immigrant and refugee populations (including Afghan, Arab, Chinese, Latinx, Iranian, Korean, Russian, Samoan, and Ukrainian). Several are themselves immigrants; most are the children or grandchildren of immigrants. The participating libraries, located in rural, suburban, and urban areas, reflect the diversity of California’s immigrant communities, which makes up 27% of our state’s population. 

Zoom grid with 14 people smiling for the camera
The 2024 Library Innovation Lab cohort convening on March 20, 2024.  

With the selection of this group, our nationally recognized LIL program, now in its eighth year, is off to a good start. This year’s work began with a virtual convening held over three consecutive afternoons in March. Activities included a hands-on Design Thinking workshop led by museum educator and futurist Lisa Eriksen, an empathy-building exercise in which cohort members shared an object that represented their connection to the immigrant experience, and a presentation by our alumni mentors, Eric Cardoso (Long Beach Public Library) and Patty Mallari (San Leandro Public Library) about building connections with immigrants in their communities—the subject of their first “homework assignment.”  

(clockwise from top left) LIL mentors Patty Millari and Eric Cardoso, with Lisa Eriksen at 2024 LIL cohort’s first gathering on March 20, 2024. 
Project and Evaluation Director Felicia Kelley walks through the LIL program structure, March 20, 2024.
Grid of three zoom screenshots depicting three people holding up artwork to the camera
(clockwise from top left): Olga Gonzalez (Santa Fe Springs City Library), Christopher Eaton (Richmond Public Library, and Mariella Garcia (Oceanside Public Library) share out in an empathy-building exercise during the second LIL cohort meeting, March 21, 2024.

Over the next four months we will hold regular virtual meetings to provide additional skill-building sessions on public humanities programming, project management, budgeting, marketing and communications, evaluation, and working with external partners to enable the cohort to develop a plan of action for the public humanities programs they will conduct in the fall of 2024. During that time, California Humanities staff and mentors will be making site visits and continuing to support the cohort through informal coffee hours and individual consultations. After their programs are completed, we will reunite the group in winter 2025 to share results, debrief, and celebrate their accomplishments.    

Stay tuned for more news and updates about the fall programming schedule and other LIL-related activities!

About Library Innovation Lab: 
LIL provides a ten-month practice-based professional development experience to each librarian along with grants of $5,500 to research, design, implement, and assess a small scale, short-term public humanities project at their library. To date, 84 librarians representing over 50 library systems have participated in the Library Innovation Lab program. Oral history projects, film screenings and discussions, memoir and zine writing activities, podcasts and mini-documentaries, and art and history exhibits have celebrated the food, music, dance and cultural traditions immigrants have brought to our state, engaging over 107,000 Californians. 
Library Innovation Lab was made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, California Humanities, and the generosity of individual donors. Learn more here

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.