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List of Library Innovation Lab Grants



(2018 Project descriptions coming soon, scroll down for 2017 project descriptions)

Anaheim Public Library
Guadalupe Gomez, Library Services Manager

Whittier Public Library
Jacqueline Sanchez, Librarian

County of Los Angeles Public Library – Florence/Firestone Branch
Julian Zamora, Community Library Manager

Riverside County Library System- Glen Avon Library
Tracie Randolph, Library Manager

Oakland Public Library
Erin Sanders, Branch Manager

Oceanside Public Library
Kris Moralez, Community Outreach Coordinator

Fresno County Public Library
Mary Wise, Teen Services Librarian

Kern County Libraries – Delano Branch Library
Fahra Daredia, Branch Supervisor

Watsonville Public Library
Alicia Martinez, Senior Librarian

Sutter County Library – Yuba City Branch
Steve Lim, Library Services Coordinator

Ventura County Library
Yvonne Becerra, Literacy & Outreach Assistant

Santa Cruz Public Libraries
Lorena Lopez, Library Assistant


Michelle Gordon,
Supervising Librarian for the WoW! (Without Walls) Department, Fresno County Public Library (2017 Cohort Alumna)

Joy Whatley,
City Librarian, Chula Vista Public Library (2017 Cohort Alumna)


One Mile

Chula Vista Library (San Diego)
Project Director: Joy Whatley, Senior Librarian
One Mile created opportunities for Chula Vista community members to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” and experience the immigrant journey through film, stories, speakers, and virtual reality. Goals were to enable community members comprehend the makeup of our community’s culture and appreciate and celebrate differences in local cultural traditions and customs. Through the project, the library hopes to build additional capacity to work with immigrants in this border community. Partnerships with KPBS and New Americans Museum have enriched the project.

East County Reads:  An Immigrant’s Journey

Contra Costa County Library (East Bay)
Project Director: Liz Fuller, Senior Community Library Manager, Brentwood and Antioch Library
The communities of Antioch, Brentwood and Oakley will participate in a joint read of the book The Distance Between Us by immigrant author Reyna Grande, the first time a regional community read will be offered in East Contra Costa County. A community-wide read gives people the opportunity to read about something, discuss it with one another, and share an experience that may be similar to their own experience or vastly different. Bilingual programming conducted in partnership with local schools, churches, and community organizations will give immigrants an opportunity to share their stories, enable the broader community to better understand the challenges facing immigrants today, and foster awareness of the library as safe space where all are welcome.


Cupertino Library/Santa Clara County Library (Peninsula/South Bay)
Project Director: Roslyn Donald, Supervising Librarian, Adult & Teen Services
Storytelling workshops facilitated by the well-regarded multicultural performing arts partner Eth-no-tek will be offered to immigrant families in the area (focusing on local Indian and Chinese immigrants to Silicon Valley) in order to improve intergenerational communication as well as to increase understanding of the commonalities as well as differences of the immigrant experience. The project, the need for which emerged during a thorough community research effort, will help the library break down silos between adult and teen programming and expand its programming options.

Story Jam

Fresno County Library (Central Valley)
Project Director: Michelle Gordon, Community Librarian
On October 21, the library will host a large scale open-mic Moth-type story event in downtown Fresno, where a dozen immigrants, recruited and prepared through a preliminary process conducted in partnership with local educational and advocacy organizations, will share personal stories about racism, prejudice and overcoming obstacles or the hardships of immigrating to California.  The project aims to provide an opportunity for the entire community to come together and share stories.  Through this program, the library hopes to increase empathy for the story tellers, help people to understand the experience of immigrants, and create or reinforce social bonds in the community.

Let’s Celebrate You!

Irvine University Park Library/Orange County Public Library (Orange County)
Project Director: Zhen (Tracy) Li, Senior Branch Manager
The library will host a weekly series of cultural events in fall 2017 geared for all ages centered on the cultural traditions of some of the most populous immigrant groups in the community (Chinese, Japanese, Persian/Iranian, Indian, and Russian). Though these programs, the library hopes the community as a whole as well as members of various immigrant groups will learn more about one another’s cultures and traditions, and consequently develop understanding and empathy for the experiences of others as well as deepened appreciation of their own heritage.

The South Los Angeles Families Academy

Vernon-Washington Branch, Los Angeles Public Library (LA Metro)
Project Director: Yago Cura, Community Librarian
Over the course of two months, the library will conduct a series of 2-hour lunchtime educational programs, lectures, and workshops designed to empower parents in South Los Angeles that incorporates humanities experiences into a holistic framework that will enhance literacy skills, promote civic engagement, and enhance mental and physical health. Spanish language and bilingual programming (in response to community demographics) will be designed and delivered in partnership with other public agencies and nonprofit organizations.  Providing free meals and child care (or family-friendly activities) will be additional incentives for participants.

Global Citizens: One World, Many Stories

Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library (LA Metro)
Project Director: Cindy Costales, Senior Librarian, Adult Services
An array of programs designed to engage adult patrons in this ethnically diverse community, where over half the residents are foreign-born, will expand participation in the library’s annual adult summer reading program and build bridges between new and established residents by encouraging the participation of new immigrants. The 10- week summer library program included family history conversations, art, music, poetry, a book club, reading for prizes, and more, and spark interest in a traveling exhibit, “Herstory: Chinese American Women, 165 Years of Struggle and Success,” aiming to encourage and inspire new immigrants as well as to increase historical understanding of the challenges past generations have faced.

Immigrant Families Connect

Arcade Branch, Sacramento Public Library (Sacramento)
Project Director: Cathy Crosthwaite, Programming and Partnership Coordinator
Designed in response to needs identified through community research, the goal of this project is to provide a safe and accessible space for parents and children to gather in a community where many immigrants and refugees, primarily from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and several regions of Russia, are settling. Connections will be promoted through collaborative art-making activities that will enable the families to express their thoughts about and reactions to shared immigration experiences.  Each program will end with a theme-based story time followed by playgroup. Connections between the participants will be facilitated by the presence of translators.

City Heights Photo Scavenger Hunt

Weingart/City Heights Branch, San Diego Public Library (San Diego)
Project Director: Jennifer Geran, Branch Manager
This hands-on humanities project will offer a series of photography workshops led by a community arts partner organization, the Aja Project, to enable participating immigrant families to document their daily life using the categories: Art and Architecture, Business, Fashion, Food, Faith, Language, Nature, Fun, and Home. The photos will be published in a book, with copies free for the participants and available for check out in the library, and exhibited at the library, located in a neighborhood long known as a destination for new immigrants.


Eastside Branch, Santa Barbara Public Library (Santa Barbara)
Project Director: Jody Thomas, Programming and Civic Engagement Librarian
The project aims to engage more immigrants in this Latino neighborhood and make the library a more welcoming place by offering an array of programs built around the popular Mexican game.  The library ourchased sets of the game, dedicate time for game-playing, and offer related programs, including poetry readings and writing workshops, storytelling sessions, a scholar talk on Latino history in Santa Barbara, and a chalk art “card-making” activity geared for teens.