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

List of Library Innovation Lab Grants

2024 Library Innovation Lab Recipients

*More information about 2024 projects coming soon!

Long Beach Public Library—Billie Jean King Main Library
Project Director: Valery Verdin

Los Angeles County Library—La Mirada Branch
Project Director: Allison Ortiz

Moreno Valley Public Library—Main Branch
Project Director: Jacqueline Stewart

Oceanside Public Library—John Landes Community Center Library
Project Director: Mariella Garcia

Richmond Public Library—Main/Civic Center Branch
Project Director: Christopher Eaton

Riverside County Library System—Home Gardens Branch
Project Director: Anna Bekker

San Diego County Library—El Cajon Branch
Project Director: Angelica Snyder

Santa Barbara Public Library 
Project Director: Catalina Morancey

Santa Fe Springs City Library 
Project Director: Olga Gonzalez

Whittier Public Library—Central Library
Project Director: Scott Gurrola

2023 Library Innovation Lab Recipients

Taste of Top of the Hill
Daly City Public Library
Project Director: Celina Tirona, Zach Whitley

Aiming to strengthen connections between the library and the Chinese, Filipinx, Latinx, and Yemeni immigrant communities, this project will conduct a series of in-library “food tours,” each showcasing restaurants and markets within a half mile of the branch. At each event, local immigrant entrepreneurs will talk about their personal experiences and highlight the history and traditions associated with the foods they have brought to share. The library will create a self-guiding map with additional background information and compile a set video interviews with the participating merchants and chefs that will increase interest in this vibrant neighborhood among local residents and visitors alike. These activities will take place later in the fall, preceded by bilingual story times and book discussions; books in Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, and Arabic will be added to the library’s “honorback” collection to promote literacy and encourage greater use of library resources.

The Cultural Fair Series
Escondido Public Library
Project Director: Azar Katouzian

In recognition of the presence of many recent immigrants and refugees from Afghanistan, Iran, and Ukraine in Escondido, the library will host a series of cultural programs this fall, each focused on sharing the culture and history of one of these countries. Planned and conducted with extensive involvement from individuals and organizations rooted in these immigrant communities, each program will include a lecture-discussion about the history of that country, live performances and demonstrations of traditional music and dance, hands-on art or craft making activities, and tastings of typical foods and beverages. Aiming to engage members of each immigrant community as well as all city residents, the series will provide enjoyable opportunities for everyone to learn more about the culture and heritage of these communities, connect with neighbors, and gain increased appreciation of Escondido’s diversity.

Curbie Cares
Hayward Public Library
Project Director: Reina Escobedo

Drawing upon an in-depth needs assessment conducted by library staff, this project will provide Chinese and Korean immigrant senior residents of two local low-income housing complexes serviced by the bookmobile (“Curbie”) with practical as well as socio—emotional supports to promote healthy living. Activities planned in September and October include talks and demonstrations of healthy Asian cooking techniques by local chefs, along with recipe and story-sharing activities that will produce a community-sourced cookbook and health guide, and distributions of books, food, and informational materials to the seniors at several health fairs. The library hopes to provide these seniors with resources to address health concerns prevalent in the community. Sharing stories over a meal and conversing with neighbors and professionals will enable these seniors to connect with others and cultivate new relationships that will reduce social isolation.

Preserving Family Heritage
San Juan Capistrano Library
Project Director: Saidy Valdez

To commemorate Latinx Heritage Month and Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the library will offer a series of bilingual cultural programs to welcome immigrants, promote empathy, and foster a more inclusive community. Highlighting the importance of preserving family history and traditions, the project will enable participants of all backgrounds to deepen their understanding and appreciation of Latinx culture. Activities planned include building a community memorial altar, a presentation by author Sarah Rafael García on the local historical figure Modesta Avila, a workshop on how to preserve your family’s history, a Pan de Muerto baking demonstration and opportunity to share favorite recipes, and crafting and storytelling activities for children and teens focused on two traditional artforms: Alebrijes and Nichos. The project will conclude with a family-friendly event featuring musical performances, a visit from a children’s book author, a face painting workshop, and a sugar skull decorating activity.

¡Creando Memorias en la Corona! (Creating Memories at Crown Heights!
Oceanside Public Library
Project Director: Jorge Garcia

From October to December, Oceanside Public Library will offer a series of programs to foster story sharing, strengthen connections, and create memories to enable the large Oaxacan immigrant community in this neighborhood to keep their culture and traditions alive for future generations. The Crown Heights Community Resource Center will host activities including a screening of the documentary OAXACALIFORNIA: EL RETORNO, a family art night, Oaxacan cooking and dance classes, and traditional craft making workshops. Papier-mâché figures (marmotas) and lanterns (faroles) made by community members will be used in the culminating Noche de Calenda event, which will include a ceremonial procession, performances of Oaxacan music and dance (audience participation encouraged), and vendors selling traditional foods and craft items. Art works made by the participants will also be displayed at two Oceanside library facilities.

My Life, My Struggle, My Victory/Mi Vida, Mi Lucha, Mi Victoria
Riverside County Library System, Glen Avon Branch
Project Director: Michael Jacome

This fall, the Glen Avon Branch will conduct a documentary project to increase empathy, partnership, and sense of community and commonality among residents of Jurupa Valley—immigrants and non-immigrants, recent arrivals as well as old-timers. Working with a professional filmmaker, the library will interview residents about their immigrant experience, the challenges they have confronted, and their goals for the future; the footage will be edited into a half hour film. Images and stories will be curated in a poster exhibit, which will be shown at the branch before traveling to other locations in the county and published in book format. Copies of the film and book will be distributed to the participants, added to the library’s collection, and shared with local schools. Public programs tied to fall holidays will provide opportunities to celebrate the participants and their stories and spark conversations and connections between community members.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Bilingual Open Mic Nights
Riverside Public Library
Project Director: Hayden Birkett

Riverside Public Library will celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15–October 15) with a series of cultural programs at libraries throughout the city that will invite local community members (including celebrated authors) to share stories, art, and poetry about the immigrant experience. Games, craft activities, and food vendors will contribute to a festive air. With a special emphasis on engaging older teens and adults, these Bilingual Open Mic programs will welcome participation from people of all ages and backgrounds, to promote connections and appreciation of Latinx culture in this Inland Empire community and demonstrate the role libraries can play as centers of community life. Partners include local schools and colleges, cultural organizations, and civic groups along with the host libraries: Arlanza Library, Main Library, and Casa Blanca Library.

My Voice, Our Stories Teen Storytelling Project
San Leandro Public Library
Project Director: Portia Carryer

Drawing on information gathered by the library team about young people’s hopes and dreams in this ethnically and socio-economically diverse Bay Area city, this project aims to meet the needs of first- and second-generation immigrant teens for connection, self-expression, and support through storytelling. Following outreach to the local high school’s ELD program and library patrons, ten teens will be selected to participate in a series of weekly workshops led by humanities educator and professional storyteller Alma Jurado. Participating teens will learn mindfulness and embodiment techniques, listen to future-visioning stories from community members, and gain skill and confidence as they develop their own personal stories for live telling. A culminating event in November will provide the opportunity for the teens to share their stories with family, friends, and community members and celebrate their accomplishments.

Sonoma County Wine Library Oral History Project
Sonoma County Wine Library
Project Director: Megan Jones

Sonoma County Library maintains a special collection known as the Wine Library to preserve and share the history and lore of the local wine industry and the people who have built it. This fall, the library will launch a new oral history project to engage immigrant vineyard workers, primarily Latinx, who are vital to the success of this industry, but whose stories are not included in the collection. A team of library staff and volunteers will interview workers and their families, and capture recordings to be cataloged and added to the library’s permanent collection and made available to the public and researchers. The library will host public programs to honor the people who have come forward to share their stories and the community of which they are part. These events will also help raise awareness about the project, which the library plans to continue in the future.

Cultura y Comunidad
Yolo County Library/Winters Community Library
Project Director: Ruby Buentello

This project aims to celebrate the culture and heritage of the Latinx community of Winters and promote community health and well-being. In collaboration with community partners Winters Healthcare and the Winters Hispanic Advisory Committee, the library will hold weekly bilingual programs for all ages and levels throughout the month of October providing opportunities for discussion, reflection, and celebration. These will include culturally relevant nutrition and movement workshops, bilingual story times, a health resource fair, and performances by a local ballet folklorico company and an Aztec dance group. A printmaking workshop led by artists from the renowned TANA atelier will enable participants to create a visual story about their immigrant experience; their work will be exhibited at the library. The series will conclude with a Saturday morning stroll to the Putah Creek Nature Trail during which library staff will share mindfulness activities and lead the group in a deep breathing and gratitude exercise.

2022 Library Innovation Lab Recipients

Khānah, a Place of Belonging
Los Angeles Public Library, Woodland Hills Branch
Project Director: Toktam Gholami, Young Adult Librarian ll

Immigration is often a time of transition from a familiar culture, family network, and established customs to a new world full of unknowns. This three-month series aims to provide a welcoming space for Afghan refugees in Los Angeles and help them preserve and share their cultural heritage through activities including a lullaby recording project headed by teen volunteers, a women’s group, English conversation classes, film screenings and discussions, and a traditional Yalda (winter solstice) celebration with food, music, dance, and poetry readings. Through these, refugees can establish lasting relationships with fellow immigrants, other residents, and library staff, and take advantage of library resources and programs to help them incorporate into their new home.

Around the World in Many Ways
Escondido Public Library
Project Director: Maureen Hogan, Children’s Librarian

A series of family-friendly programs, highlighting the cultural heritage of Asian and Latin American immigrants in Escondido, will provide engaging learning opportunities this fall for residents of all ages and help promote greater understanding and appreciation of the diversity of cultures reflected in this city’s population. In keeping with needs expressed by community members, all programs will be free and designed for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy. Events will focus around holiday observances, exploring traditions, and stories associated with celebrations of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and winter holidays in Mexico.

Khmer, Come All!
Long Beach Public Library, Los Altos Branch
Project Director: Eric Cardoso, Senior Librarian

This six-week series will explore the culture and heritage of the city’s Cambodian community, the largest in the United States. Through a variety of programs, residents of all backgrounds will have the opportunity to learn more about this past and present of this thriving diaspora community. Experts and culture bearers, including many Cambodian American artists, scholars, entrepreneurs, and activists, will contribute insights and knowledge to an array of programs including lectures and discussions, panel presentations, cooking demonstrations, traditional art and craft workshops, film and discussion sessions, culminating in a daylong celebration in December. With activities for children and teens as well as all ages, and open to all, the project will foster connections and community-building in this diverse city.

Connections: Connecting through Art, Nature, Healing and Story
Old Town Newhall Branch Library, City of Santa Clarita Public Library
Project Director: Farima Kafai, Librarian

Focusing on meeting the needs of the underserved Latinx population of the city, this project will provide opportunities for people to socialize, restore connections with neighbors, express their inner thoughts, and see their culture represented at the library and in public life. A series of family-friendly activities over the fall months will include a weekend program on wellness and self-care, a showcase of local performing arts talent, and workshops that will provide content for two exhibit featuring poetry and collages created by local youth in response to the question “What does community mean to you?” Receptions celebrating these young artists will conclude the series in December. All events will be free and accessible to both English and Spanish speakers with free transportation made available through a collaboration with local transit authorities.

Arrivals and Departures
Sonoma County Library, Adult Literacy Program
Project Director: Jovanna Ayala, Literacy Coordinator

This project will invite immigrants of diverse backgrounds in Sonoma County to share stories about their journeys to California for publication in an anthology to be published by the library. Visits by two well-known immigrant writers, Francisco Jimenez and Reyna Grande, in early fall will provide inspiration to aspiring authors, with ongoing support provided by library literacy program staff that will encourage residents to submit stories (either in writing or spoken and transcribed). A publication party will serve as the occasion to celebrate the contributors and launch the book into the world; printed and digital copies will be made available to the contributors and the public and added to the library’s collection.

We are OC: Stories. Connection. Sharing
Irvine University Park Branch, Orange County Public Libraries
Project Director, Marisa Saam, Librarian I

A 10-session series of programs this fall will provide opportunities for immigrants and all members of this ethnically diverse community (almost 40% of residents are foreign born) to forge cross cultural connections, learn more about their neighbors, share their own traditions, and enjoy educational as well as entertaining cultural programs. Activities will include writing and art-making workshops, scholar talks, author visits, cooking demonstrations, and music and dance performances – with participatory components. The series aims to provide opportunities for people of all ages – children, teens, adults, seniors – from all backgrounds to participate and get better acquainted with their neighbors.

Let’s Gather!
Fremont Branch, Alameda County Library
Project Director: Becky Machatta, Library Manager

In response to the needs expressed by immigrants in the Tri-City area (Fremont, Union City, and Newark) to restore human connections in the aftermath of the pandemic, the library will offer a series of family-friendly programs geared for all ages this fall. Through art-making activities, outdoor excursions, informal and expert-led discussions, and a culminating community celebration in December, participating families will explore nature, spend quality time together, and learn about the library. The project will encourage immigrants and others in this culturally diverse community to connect with others, make new friends, learn about other cultures, and to restore and renew the joy in their lives.

Creating Vines of Hope: A Filipino-Community Celebration
Delano Branch Library, Kern County Library
Project Director: Fabiola Orozco, Delano Branch Supervisor

Delano, Kern County’s second largest city, is home to a large Filipino American community. Through this project, the library seeks to celebrate Filipino culture and educate the community about Filipino American history, and engage community members of all ages in preserving and sharing stories, traditions ,and memories. Activities during the fall will include commemorating the work of labor leader Larry Itliong, raising awareness of the role Filipinos played in the region’s agricultural history through film screenings and talks, launching a community history initiative, hosting children’s story hours, and highlighting traditional Filipino culture through craft workshops, weekly Sungka game sessions, and dance and music performances and demonstrations.

Sutter County Library System, Main Library
Project Director: Marika Garcia, Development Officer

Seeking to address their desire to acquire skills, identify resources, and develop greater independence and autonomy, the library will conduct interviews and oral histories with Afghan immigrant women who are participating in its literacy program. From these, they will create a series of Farsi and English podcasts that will entertain, engage, and spread information and resources to other immigrants throughout the Yuba-Sutter region. Interviewees will be selected at the end of August; interviews will be conducted in September; editing and production of the final podcast(s) will be done in November; a culminating listening party in mid-December will launch the series and celebrate the participants and their accomplishments. Podcasts will be made available on multiple platforms and in a variety of formats in the future.

2021 Library Innovation Lab Recipients

Ahlan Wa Sahlan (Welcome)

Anaheim Public Library, Haskett Branch 
Project Director: Curita Tinker, Library Assistant

Anaheim has a large Arab population that is seldom recognized. However, this immigrant community is of growing importance to the city and county’s economy and culture. In November and December, the library will host a traveling interpretive exhibit curated by the Arab American National Museum, augmented with an array of programs: a bilingual (Arabic and English) storytime and crafting series for families, cooking demonstrations, a community talent night, a virtual visit by author Linda Sarsour and related book discussions, and performances of traditional Arab dance and music. The project was developed in response to the needs expressed by immigrant community members for programs that will promote greater appreciation and understanding of Arab and Arab-American history and culture.

Stories on Skin: Tattoos and the LA Immigrant Experience

County of Los Angeles Public Library, Asian Pacific Resource Center 
Project Director: Katrina Lacerna, Asian Pacific Resource Center Librarian

This exciting program will explore how various immigrant communities in the Los Angeles region practice tattooing and the meaning body art holds within multiple cultures. In December, a series of three free online programs will feature presentations by tattoo artists and culture bearers, examining the distinctive history and aesthetics associated with various traditions (Chicano/Latino, Black, Japanese and Samoan) and the similarities and differences between them. The project will also produce an online exhibit curated from stories and images contributed by Angelenos of all backgrounds that will deepen appreciation of the differences and the commonalities between these cultures and histories.

Celebrating MoVal Cultures

Moreno Valley Public Library 
Project Director: Charmaine Mendez, Adult Services Librarian

In response to needs expressed by members of Moreno Valley’s immigrant communities, the library has developed a set of engaging public programs that will promote greater understanding and appreciation of several cultures represented in this diverse Inland community. The series will highlight aspects of each culture, including a talk by a local Latino author, a henna demonstration by a South Asian culture bearer, a dance performance and embroidery exhibit by a local Palestinian American group, along with a genealogy workshop geared for people of Hispanic heritage and a program about traditional Filipino mental health and self-care practices. In addition, reflecting strong community relationships built in the planning phase, the library will host some events at a local mall, with refreshments and practical resources supplied by local partners.

¡Celebrando Tradiciones, Culturas UNIDAS!

Riverside County Library System, Coachella Branch 
Project Director: Denise Lopez Gomez, Branch Manager Intern

This library, located in the desert region of Southern California, will host an eight-week series of programs to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (mid-September to mid-October). Each week, the library will provide a special program highlighting the cultural heritage of a different Latin American country, with accompanying arts and crafts activities. In addition, all community members are invited to make a community altar and join in a celebration of Dia de los Muertos in early November. The project aims to increase understanding and respect for the diversity and commonalities among Latin cultures, building on the interest in learning more about their cultural heritage as well as their neighbors’ expressed by immigrants.

(be)Longing: Woven into the Fabric of Our Community

San Leandro Public Library, Main Branch 
Project Director: Patricia Mallari, Librarian

This multifaceted project aims to celebrate the presence in and contributions to the growth of this East Bay Area city by various ethnic and immigrant communities and help rebuild a sense of community in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Growing from research that revealed an interest in food, cultural traditions, and stories as essential elements of individual and community well-being and health, the project will offer a diverse set of activities to welcome people of all ages and backgrounds to the library. Programs developed in collaboration with community partners will include talks, lectures, poetry readings, exhibits, and culinary and performing arts demonstrations and provide opportunities for discussion and engagement. Take-home treats, books, and crafting kits exploring Salvadoran, Filipino, Tongan, and indigenous cultures’ traditions and wisdom will provide additional enrichment.

Integrating Immigrants: Exploring New Ways of Engaging the Latin American Immigrant Community in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Public Library, Main Branch 
Eric Castro, Senior Library Technician

In commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the library will offer various programs designed to interest and engage the local Latinx community. Activities will include interpretive musical performance/demonstration by an Afro-Peruvian ensemble, a curated interpretive exhibit of artwork by immigrants on the theme of identity, a series of recorded interviews with the artists available online, a zine-making project for teens, and a series of cooking classes and demonstrations featuring local chefs. Community members will also be invited to submit recipes for inclusion in a cookbook that the library will publish. All programs will be offered free, in both Spanish and English, to broaden participation and access and promote learning and sharing.

Días de los Nuestros: A Celebration of Art, Cultures, and Community

Santa Cruz Public Library, Felton Branch 
Project Director: Jacqueline Danziger, Branch Librarian

Building on research and conversations with members of the local Latinx community, the library will offer a series of programs in September and October to address needs related to health & wellness, safety, and preservation of cultural heritage and traditions. An LGBTQ Folklorico dance group will offer a series of performances and demonstrations of traditional dances geared for all ages and abilities in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. This will be followed by the installation of commemorative Día de los Muertos altars created from drawings, photos, letters, stories, poetry, art, and ephemera provided by community members. Two branches will host the installations and related programs in celebration of the November 2 holiday that will include Spanish language storytimes and seasonal refreshments.

Video Camp

Sonoma County Public Library, Cloverdale Branch
Project Director: Ana Dawe, Branch Manager

Responding to the concerns local Latinx immigrants expressed about the pandemic’s impact on their children’s education, the library will offer a special program for teens from immigrant farmworker families. In an afterschool documentary filmmaking workshop led by youth media professionals, the young people will learn the basics of creating and editing a short video that will enable them to document their experiences during Covid-19 and/or their family’s immigration story. In addition to learning about filmmaking, the teens will enhance their self-confidence and strengthen research and communication skills. A public screening organized in collaboration with the Alexander Valley film society will provide the teens an opportunity to share their work with the broader community and increase the public’s understanding of and empathy with the immigrant experience.

Más allá de la historia única: Preserving Latino History in Orange

Orange Public Library, El Modena Branch 
Project Director: Lizette Guerra, Librarian

Based on information collected from interviews and surveys, the library will develop a series of programs that are reflective of and sensitive to the experiences of the Latino community of Orange, exploring the power of story to collect, preserve, and share history. In September, the series kicks off with several programs about the popular cultural tradition of wrestling (lucha libre), including a curated exhibit about local lucha history, talks by local luchadores, and a film and discussion series. This will pave the way for the second phase focused on building the library’s local Latino history archive through collecting family stories and related materials, including two participatory workshops led by humanities experts that will equip local residents with the skills needed to preserve family photos and make oral histories in accordance with current best practices.

2020 Library Innovation Lab Awardees

One Voice: Our Voice – The Euclid Immigrant Project

Anaheim Public Library, Euclid Branch Library
Project Director: Tony Lam, Librarian

This project aims to promote understanding about the immigrant experience and create a safe and compassionate space for immigrants through arts and culture programs. Given community demographics, the focus will be on Latinx and Vietnamese culture and heritage. Activities will include story-recording sessions (at home, using library equipment); an online panel of immigrant writers; an ESL conversation club; and a series of cooking demonstrations called “World Kitchen.” Due to Covid-19 restrictions, all programs will be remote or virtual. By sharing and celebrating the rich heritage of these immigrant populations, the library hopes to promote a greater appreciation of our community’s diversity.

Our Oakland Table

Oakland Public Library, Eastmont Branch
Project Director: Susan Martinez, Senior Librarian

The library will host a series of four virtual cooking workshops, led by a professional chef accompanied by four guest home chefs from Oakland’s diverse immigrant communities, who will be cooking recipes from their home countries. The workshops will be streamed and archived via Oakland Public Library’s YouTube and Facebook Live channels. A companion community cookbook with recipes and stories from immigrant home cooks will be distributed through library branches and added to the library collection. This project aims to foster a sense of community among immigrant groups, to build empathy and connection between immigrant groups and their non-immigrant neighbors, and to integrate Oakland’s immigrant communities’ cultural traditions into the fabric of the city’s cultural tapestry. To those ends, this project aims to reach out to both the immigrant and the non-immigrant communities in Oakland.

Exploring New Ways of Engaging Immigrant Communities

Marin County Free Library—Point Reyes Branch Library
Project Director: Annemarie Russo, Literacy Coordinator

Building on its community research, the Point Reyes Library plans to implement several programs in fall 2020 that explore different ways to build community connections — within the Latinx immigrant community and with non-immigrants — through storytelling and celebrating cultural traditions. Key activities include developing a Citizenship Wall of Honor (online and physical exhibit of photos and stories about residents who have gained citizenship) and an intergenerational documentary project (teens interviewing immigrant elders and recording stories for broadcast and sharing at public events. All activities will include some interactive programming. Depending on Covid-19 restrictions, gatherings may be physical as well as online.

Our Cultures, Our Stories

Fresno County Public Library
Project Director: Isariya Locke, Community Librarian

This project will provide a series of virtual programs in fall 2020 exploring the cultural heritage of two immigrant communities, Laotian and Syrian, and provide opportunities for other immigrants in Fresno to share personal stories. In September, “Celebrating Lao Heritage” will invite community members to share artifacts, family history, cuisine, and traditional music. In October, the “My Story” program will provide a platform for English Language Learners to share their personal stories. In November, “Immigrant Community Recipes” will explore Syrian cuisine through online cooking demonstrations.  The capstone product will be an e-book of recipes and stories contributed by Fresno residents of all backgrounds. Through this project, the library hopes to engage immigrant communities, provide a welcoming experience for them, and increase understanding and appreciation of diversity among the entire Fresno community.


Oceanside Public Library
Project Director: Erin Nakasone, Librarian II, Youth Services

Oceanside Public Library will conduct a week-long series of programs beginning September 14 including ongoing bilingual story-time programs for children and parents and a tween book discussion group. They also host a virtual tour of Balboa Park’s historic Japanese Friendship Garden, a performance by a Taiko drumming ensemble, and arts and crafts sessions (books and materials are distributed through kits). Titled Yōkoso! (Welcome!) the project aims to increase appreciation for and understanding of the values and meaning of Japanese traditional arts and cultural forms and recognize the presence and contributions of the local Japanese American population in this north San Diego County community.

Our Voices/Nuestras Voces, Our Food/Nuestra Comida, Our Culture/Nuestra Cultura

City of Santa Clarita Public Library, Old Town Newhall Library
Project Director: Rachael “Morgan” Lazo, Adult Services Librarian

A three-month series of bilingual, family-friendly programs hosted by the library will recognize and celebrate the cultural contributions of Latinos to this suburban community on the northern edge of Los Angeles County. Planned events include a talk by a scholar about the history of Loteria followed by a game-playing session, a series of online cooking demonstrations using traditional and modern Latin American recipes, and a holiday musical performance. Programs will be delivered over Zoom with kits containing materials and supplies provided for at-home DIY activities.

We Are More Alike Than We Are Different

Nevada County Community Library, Truckee Branch Library
Project Director: Bobbi Luster, Branch Manager

The project aims to bring awareness to the immigrant and emigrant populations in Truckee and provide welcoming experiences and equitable access to all members of our community. To accomplish these goals, the library plans to elicit and share stories from students from local immigrant families about their dreams and aspirations for the future through a video. A drive-in movie screening of the video along with the beloved animated feature film “Coco” and trunk-or-treat celebration at the Truckee-Tahoe airport will provide an opportunity for local families from all backgrounds to safely celebrate two traditional holidays — Halloween and Dia de los Muertos — during pandemic conditions.

Belonging and Expression

Los Angeles Public Library, Friends of the Studio City Branch Library
Project Director: Emily Aaronson, Adult Librarian

Hoping to increase a sense of belonging on the part of immigrants, particularly African, Latinx, and Russian, and to increase understanding and empathy in non-immigrants, the library will offer a two-track project this fall. A series of writing workshops for first- and second-generation immigrants, conducted by Restless Books Publishers, will enable them to share their experiences. At the same time, a publication and virtual reading will allow the broader community to read, hear, and dialogue with the authors. A series of dance performances and demonstrations by professional teaching artists representing the cultural traditions and heritage of local immigrant populations will provide active and enjoyable learning experiences to all who attend. All programming will be conducted virtually in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions.

Immigrant Life in Riverside County

Riverside County Library System, Home Gardens Library
Project Director: Nancy Reiter, Branch Manager 2

Home Gardens Library in Corona serves a diverse community in western Riverside County. To strengthen and revitalize inter-generational connections and promote greater empathy and understanding of immigrants within the community, the library will launch a series of multicultural book-based programs for children and parents. Visits and talks by authors and experts will be enriched by readings, hands-on writing, art-making, and crafting activities, performances and demonstrations, and book giveaways. Appropriate social distancing precautions for all events will be observed in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions.

Telling Our Stories

Alameda County Library System, Newark Branch Library
Project Director: Lisa Carter, Adult Services Librarian

This project aims to use storytelling to bridge the frequent feeling of a disconnect between first- and second-generation Americans – children and their parents — and increase the wider public’s understanding of the immigrant experience and appreciation for diversity in this East Bay community. The project will employ various media and formats — video interviews, personal writing, artmaking — to explore stories using a series of monthly narrative quilt-making workshops for families and weekly teen gatherings on Zoom. Given Covid-19 restrictions, all activities will be virtual, with a physical exhibit planned for the post-pandemic period. Volunteers, teaching artists, and staff will assist the Project Director, and community organizations and city agencies will support outreach.

2019 Library Innovation Lab Awardees

A New Community—Stories That Connect Us/Una Nueva Comunidad-Las Historias que nos Conectan

County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries—Cambria Library
Project Director: Kate McMillen, Library Associate III
Through storytelling and inclusive cultural events, this project aims to connect the entire community of Cambria. The library will offer bilingual programs to promote increased understanding of the immigrant experience and support the development of a more tolerant community. Events will include a storytelling program for young children, a virtual reality experience to enable adults to share where they grew up with their family, an author talk on education and parenting, a cultural program about Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos, and a movie night event for families. A short documentary film featuring interviews and footage from library programs will preserve the stories shared by participants and provide a lasting resource for the community. Focused on family histories and “Coming to Cambria” stories, this project will create opportunities to increase awareness of what makes us unique, as well as what unites us.

My City, My Voice 

City of Commerce Public Library
Project Director: Sonia Bautista, Senior Librarian
A range of programs scheduled for Fall 2019 will provide opportunities for residents to understand, empathize with, and experience how immigrants from different cultures and traditions have contributed to the social, cultural, and economic life of this city in southeast Los Angeles county. Highlights include a talk by a well-known local restauranteur and author and an evening of music and song on the theme of “home” featuring a celebrated local singer. An oral history project in collaboration with the City’s Cable department will record first-person accounts from residents about where they’re from, what they loved about their hometown/place, and what the Commerce community means to them. The interviews will be videotaped and edited and compiled into a film that will be shared with the community at the project’s culminating event in December, showcasing the diversity and richness of residents’ experiences and celebrating differences as well as commonalities.

Connecting Cultures

Los Angeles Public Library—Washington Irving Branch
Project Director: Krystal Messer, Adult Librarian

Focusing specifically on immigrants from Asian, Hispanic, and Ethiopian cultural backgrounds who make up a large portion of the diverse population surrounding the Los Angeles Public Library’s Washington Irving branch library, the library will create a series of events highlighting the culture of each through the lenses of food, dance, and history. Programs include an author visit and book discussion about Mexican American immigration history, a cooking demonstration and talk about healthy eating practices in Asian cuisines (with a produce box distribution), publication of a cookbook of recipes contributed by the community, and a traditional Ethiopian dance workshop and performance. The library hopes these programs will engage those whose culture is reflected and celebrated with these events, as well as patrons from other backgrounds, in order to strengthen connections to and promote greater empathy and understanding within the community it serves.

Immigration Stories 

Mill Valley Public Library
Project Director: Andrew Murphy, Supervising Librarian
Taking inspiration from the idea that the humanities are “how people process and document the human experience,” the library will partner with Tamalpais High School’s English Language Development program and the MultiCultural Center of Marin to record stories from members of Marin County’s immigrant population. The recordings will be archived in the collection and made available to the public through the Library’s website. Two public programs will provide opportunities for some of the participants to share their experiences in real time with the broader community, and a culminating event in December will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jose Antonio Vargas, speaking about his own experience as an undocumented immigrant. Through these means, the library aims to reach widely and foster empathy for the immigrant experience within our community.

Libraries Are for Everyone

Orange County Public Libraries—Fountain Valley Branch
Project Director: Zoe Nash, Adult Services Librarian

With this project, the library plans to share the immigrant/refugee experience through visual storytelling to promote empathy and understanding on the part of the broader community. Key target audiences are Vietnamese immigrants, Vietnamese Americans, and other immigrant populations, along with the community at large that may benefit from understanding the experiences of their immigrant and refugee neighbors. The project will include art journaling/art storytelling workshops, cultural performances, and speakers about the immigrant and refugee experience. “Art is for Everyone” will provide participants with notebooks in which they can share their stories, experiences as refugees/immigrants and their cultural traditions through art. In December, completed notebooks will be displayed at an art exhibition and opening reception at the Fountain Valley Library. Artwork will then travel and be displayed at two other libraries. The art notebooks will be added to the library’s collection and available for the community to browse.

This Is Who We Are: Creating Cultural Awareness and Diversity Within Our Community

Napa County Library, Yountville, American Canyon, and Calistoga
Project Director: Refugio Rivera, Library Associate
Napa County’s population of 139,417 is primarily Latino and Caucasian, and the two most commonly spoken languages in the county are Spanish and English. The library’s goals for this project are to provide inclusive and diverse programming that will encourage Latino immigrants to come to the library and to enable the entire community to experience cultural diversity and increase their cultural awareness. Free programs will be provided for all ages, including family friendly events, interactive crafts, guest speakers, community story contributions, food demonstrations, and presentations on Latino history.

Pásale Paisano: Welcoming Immigrants & Spanish Speaking Communities Through Stories, Artwork, & Traditions

Tulare County Library System—Exeter Branch Library
Project Director: Veronica Casanova, Librarian III
Responding to requests from their rural, largely Mexican American community, the Tulare County Library System’s Exeter Branch developed a project to deepen the connections between new and longtime residents to their cultural traditions and heritage. Events in the fall of 2019 at three branch libraries—Exeter, Farmersville, and Woodlake—include a celebration of Mexican Independence Day/Celebración de Día de la Independencia, an artisan mercadito, presentations by renowned bilingual storyteller Olga Loya, zine workshops, and hands-on arts and crafts activities related to the traditional Day of the Dead/Día de Los Muertos holiday. The project will seek to engage families, teens, and community partners. Programming will be conducted in Spanish and English to promote accessibility.

Cuentos Caminantes/Memories in Motion

Long Beach Public Library
Project Director: Joshua Sanchez, Community Program Technician
During October and November, the Billie Jean King Main Library in Long Beach will host weekly bilingual storytelling workshops called Cuentacuentos Café that empower the community to give voice to their experiences while learning the basics of storytelling. Select participants will be invited to use the library’s Media Lab to capture their stories through audio, video, art, or a mixture of varying media, assisted by library staff and volunteers. Recordings will be translated into multiple languages and archived in the library’s collection. Although focusing on Latinx immigrants, the primary immigrant population in the library’s service area, participation is open to all. The project will conclude with the Cuento Caminantes/Memories in Motion event on December 7 that will showcase storytellers and their stories while providing an opportunity for sharing and dialogue about the immigrant experience in one of the nation’s most diverse cities.

Arte Creativo: Come get creative with the art of Hispanic culture!

Placentia Library District, Placentia
Project Director:  Michelle Meades, History Room Librarian I
Placentia Library District serves a diverse population of over 50,000 people, including a large Hispanic population. During October the Library will celebrate Hispanic Heritage by exploring the diverse, vibrant, and colorful cultures of Latin America through visual art mediums, dancing, and storytelling. Workshops and demonstrations will enable participants to learn new art mediums such as chalking, Mexican foil art, Incan knot art and more. Professional storyteller Georgette Baker will share an interactive musical storytelling adventure so that participants can experience the geography, music, cultures, legends, and languages of Latin America. Those who attend will also be able to participate in an oral history project to capture and record their stories of coming to Placentia, which will be archived at the library. Programming will be free and geared for all ages; many activities will be bilingual or offered in Spanish.

The Marigold Series

Sunnyvale Public Library, Sunnyvale
Project Director: Karina Huerta, Youth Services Librarian
Sunnyvale Public Library serves a diverse community of more than 150,000 people, with considerable large Middle Eastern and Latino immigrant populations, who share linguistic overlap and cultural similarities, like the significance of the bright yellow and orange marigold flower. In October 2019, The Marigold Series will consist of three programs: a Diwali Celebration and two Day of the Dead Programs, one of which will take place on the northern side of Sunnyvale, where a large portion of the Latino community resides. In addition to the programs, Sunnyvale Public Library will have informational displays throughout the month of October 2019 to celebrate and educate library users about the history and cultural traditions surrounding both holidays.

2018 Library Innovation Lab Awardees

Ropiendo Barreras/Breaking Barriers: Exploring New Ways of Engaging Immigrant Communities

Anaheim Public Library, Haskett Library and Ponderosa Joint-Use Library Branches
Project Director: Guadalupe Gomez, Library Services Manager
Anaheim Public Library serves a diverse community of over 358,000 people, including sizeable Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern immigrant populations. Currently, more than 60% of city residents speak a language other than English at home. From September to December 2018, “Ropiendo Barreras / Breaking Barriers: Exploring New Ways of Engaging Immigrant Communities” will enable participants to explore different cultures, learn and work together to develop an awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity of their community, build self-confidence, and enjoy social interaction. The free public programming series will offer engaging activities for all ages, such as guest speakers (the popular Southern California radio personality Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo is scheduled to appear), family movie nights, cooking demonstrations, and hands-on arts and crafts workshops.

A Lens into Mi Vida 

County of Los Angeles Public Library – Florence Branch
Project Director: Julian Zamora, Community Library Manager
The Florence library is located in an unincorporated region of southeast Los Angeles county with a large Latino immigrant population (43% of area residents were born outside the US).  To enable immigrants to capture and share their experiences, and to make it possible for others to gain a glimpse into their lives, the library will seek submissions of photos from the community and develop an exhibit and public programs focused on the theme of food. A week of programs will kick-off on October 22 with an event incorporating art activities and a poetry reading as well as refreshments. Over the course of the week, professional chefs will offer cooking demonstrations and writing workshops on the theme will furnish additional content to be added to the exhibit. The program will culminate with an author visit and an open mic session for anyone who wishes to share a story. Through these means, the library hopes to provide a welcoming and safe space for all.

Every Voice, Every Story

Fresno County Public Library – Sunnyside Regional Library
Project Director: Terrance McArthur, Adult Programming Librarian
To raise awareness of the immigrant experience, strengthen family ties, and produce a collection of stories that can be shared, the “Every Voice, Every Story” project will enable residents of three rural Fresno County communities this November to record and preserve their family immigrant stories. The well-known bilingual storyteller Antonio Sacre will deliver performances at the Sunnyside, Orange Cove, and Sanger branch libraries exploring the arc of the immigrant experience, from the journey itself to the challenge of adapting to a new culture. Following each performance, audience members will be invited to record their own stories, using equipment and assistance provided by the library. In addition to providing each participant a copy of the recording, the library will seek permission to include the stories in a broadcast-quality video, which will be made available to area schools for classroom use, and house the recordings in its collection.

South Asian Programs at the Delano Branch

Kern County Library – Delano Branch
Project Director: Fahra Daredia, Branch Supervisor
Delano has long been home to many immigrant groups, including many from South East Asia.  To raise awareness and promote appreciation of the rich cultural heritage of these communities, the library will host a month-long series of engaging activities in November.  In addition to a Saturday film series, “South Asian Programs at the Delano Branch” will offer two special events. A Diwali celebration on November 10th will feature stations where the families can sample snacks, dress up for a photo op, do some rangoli, listen to stories, and learn Bollywood dance moves — each family will receive a diya (traditional clay lamp) as a parting gift for the event. On November 17th, the library will host a colors event at the park to educate the public about the Holi celebration. Families will play with colored powder and dance to Bollywood music. The library hopes to make the series an annual tradition that will engage the entire community.

Bibliotecas Para Todos

Oceanside Public Library, San Diego
Project Director: Kris Moralez, Community Outreach Coordinator
Through an array range of public programs including talks by nationally-known authors about the immigrant experience, book discussions, a concert, and a community art project, Bibliotecas Para Todos/Libraries for All aims to cultivate empathy for the immigrant experience, encourage dialogue about immigration, and help new immigrants connect to the Library and see themselves as part of the Oceanside community. Located just 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, adjacent to the Camp Pendleton US Marine Corps base, Oceanside has a large immigrant population (over 20% of its population of 170,000 were born outside of the United States) and is deeply rooted in Hispanic culture and community. The library will make special efforts to reach out to the Spanish-speaking community to inform them about the wealth of resources it offers for education and personal enrichment as well as to engage them in programming. By putting a human face on the issue of immigration, the project will also enable those who have little direct connection with immigrants to better understand and empathize with their experience and promote a more inclusive community.

Oakland MOSAIC

Oakland Public Library
Project Director: Erin Sanders, Branch Manager
“Oakland MOSAIC” will highlight the experiences and talents of Oakland’s immigrant communities through a series of programs that will bring Oaklanders together, newcomers and old-timers alike, to share stories and learn about other cultures. Programs will take place this fall, kicking off with the Mam Cultural Festival in September at the Chavez Branch, featuring the food, language, and textile crafts of this indigenous Mayan culture of Guatemala. In October, members of the local Korean community will share recipes and stories through Cook Me A Story at the library’s Asian branch.  The series concludes with a music and storytelling program with Kabul Dreams, Afghanistan’s first rock band, who will perform on November 10 at the Main Library. Through these programs, the library aims to welcome people from specific communities for each program, (Korea, Afghanistan, or Mam communities), facilitate deeper understanding between communities, and establish the library as a place for conversation and community engagement.

Living Traditions

Riverside County Library System – Glen Avon Branch
Project Director: Tracie Randolph, Library Manager
“Living Traditions” will provide an opportunity for City of Jurupa Valley residents to record and share family stories and food traditions. To meet the needs of young families of Hispanic heritage, a large sector of the population in this western Riverside County community, the intergenerational program will involve parents, other caregivers, and children in a series of engaging activities in October and November. Highlights include a poetry event, an oral history interview and memory scrap book project, and the creation of a community cookbook in digital and print formats, incorporating family recipes contributed by the participants.  Through these means, participants of all ages will acquire new skills, express themselves through various mediums, participate in family- and community-building activities, and explore healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

Zine Fronteras

Santa Cruz Public Library
Project Director: Lorena Lopez, Library Assistant
To build awareness of and empathy for immigrant members of the Santa Cruz community, and provide immigrants with opportunities to express themselves without fear in order to share the hardships and joys of their experiences, the library will conduct a series of programs this fall, focused around the creation of a new literary magazine, “Zine Fronteras”.  The project will kick off in September with a short series of workshops at the Live Oak branch to encourage young people to share their immigration stories through words and images. Their work will be edited into a digital and print magazine to be published by community partner, Bookshop Santa Cruz. Copies will be provided each contributor, made available for purchase, distributed to schools, and cataloged and added to library collection for circulation. A launch reception at the library in December will provide an opportunity for the stories to be read, participants to share their experiences, and community dialog.

Dance Around the World

Sutter County Library
Project Director: Ayla Elkins, Literacy Services Coordinator
For the past 14 years, the library’s literacy program has hosted the Multicultural Women’s Dance, an event in which participants can perform a dance representative of their heritage, participate in a fashion show, learn about women’s health and community resources, enjoy traditional foods, and connect with others. Responding to growing interest in the project (last spring over 800 local women participated), the library will create a short video documentary featuring interviews with participants and exploring the significance of the event – and that of the dance and cultural traditions it showcases – to the community. A screening event at the library in November will also include speakers, a panel discussion featuring dance experts, and several performances by local dance groups. Additional events are being planned with collaborating cultural venues that will promote mutual understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity in the region.

Celebrate Mixteco Culture

Ventura County Public Library
Project Director: Yvonne Tello, Literacy & Outreach Assistant
Based at a small branch library in El Rio, an unincorporated community adjacent to the city of Oxnard, this project aims to engage some of the 20,000 Mixtecs now living in Ventura County, in order to promote their use of the library and the resources it offers, as well as to make others in the community more aware of the rich history and culture of this indigenous immigrant group. A series of family-friendly programs at the Albert A. Solis library in September and October will lead up to a festival at the end of month, which will include performances, food vendors, speakers and presenters, and children’s activities – focused on the traditions surrounding observance of Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead. Project partners include a local radio station, First Five, a Mixtec community organization, and CSU Channel Islands students and faculty, who will collaborate with the community to create a mural commemorating Mixtec culture in the library.

Immigrant Experience Through the Arts

Watsonville Public Library
Project Director: Alicia Martinez, Senior Librarian
Many immigrant groups have contributed to shaping Watsonville, now celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding. To commemorate the Central Coast city’s immigrant history, and foster awareness of the struggles of discrimination, exploitation, migration, and civil rights that immigrants have experienced in the past and today, the library will offer a four-part series of programs this fall. A series of murals will be designed by a local artist, incorporating community input and painted by volunteers; an art installation will be created that depicts each cultural group’s contribution to Watsonville’s agricultural heritage; a series of “Lightning Talks” will be offered by community members who are experts on topics such as the farm worker experience, local history, migration to Watsonville, art and education; and the cuisines of the city’s diverse cultural groups will be celebrated through programs enabling residents to share food, recipes, and stories. Through all these activities, the library aims to connect residents, reinforce social ties, and promote productive collaborations between community partners.

Culture for the Senses

Whittier Public Library
Project Director: Jacqueline Sanchez, Librarian
Whittier Library plans to celebrate Hispanic heritage, the cultural background of 70% of current residents, through a series of programs this fall that will engage the entire community, including recent arrivals. “Culture for the Senses” will bring prominent Latino artists, educators and entertainers including Lalo Garcia, Trio Ellas, and Ofelia Esparza to the community to speak about their connection to the immigrant experience. Other activities will include the installation of a large art altar in the Children’s Department and an excursion to the LA County Natural History Museum’s to view its collection of Latin American artifacts. Through these programs, the library hopes to engage a new and underserved audience of Spanish-speaking immigrants, as well as promote appreciation of the richness and beauty of Hispanic culture and traditions, and increase awareness of the value of diversity on the part of the whole community.

2017 Library Innovation Lab Awardees

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 purchased 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.

To see this list in PDF format, click here.

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