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

Three women pose for a photograph

Libraries Celebrate Immigrant Traditions and Heritage this November  

Above, from left: Library Innovation Lab mentor Patricia Millari, project director Celina Tirona, and Daly City Vice-Mayor Juslyn C. Manalo at the Taste of the Top of the Hill program at the John Daly Branch Library, October 11, 2023.  

Around the state, libraries participating in this year’s Library Innovation Lab: Exploring New Ways of Engaging California’s Immigrant Communities (LIL) program are honoring the traditions and heritage of immigrants this month. Visit our online calendar to learn more about events near you that will provide a variety of engaging, enjoyable, and enriching experiences for people of all backgrounds and ages. We also invite California library professionals to visit our LIL webpage to learn how you can participate in next year’s program–the application window will open in December!

San Juan Capistrano Library (Orange County Public Libraries) concludes its series of bilingual cultural programs, Preserving Latinx Family Heritage, this month. On Thursday, November 2, the library will host a crafting session in which participants can make Nichos and paint a clay skull–two traditional folkart forms associated with the Día de Los Muertos/Day of the Dead holiday. On Saturday, November 4, the library will host a Family Cultural Literacy Day featuring a reading and signing by children’s book author Mariana Galvez, performances by the local Blas Aguilar Adobe Ballet Folklorico and a local Mariachi group, sugar skull decorating, and other arts and craft activities. Complimentary books will be distributed. No registration is required but early arrival is recommended! More information is available here or contact Project Director Saidy Valdez at 949- 493-1752,

Creando Memoris En Oceanside flyer in sea green

Oceanside Public Library launches ¡Creando Memorias en la Corona! (Creating Memories at Crown Heights), a series of programs that will help the large Oaxacan immigrant community in North San Diego to keep their culture and traditions alive for future generations. Events at the Crown Heights Community Resource Center and the Civic Center Library will include a Memela cooking class led by a local chef on November 2, a family art night in which participants can create their own visual origin story on November 9, dance classes on November 14 providing instruction and practice in traditional folk dances of the region, and a screening of the award-winning California Humanities-funded documentary OAXACALIFORNIA: EL RETORNO on November 16. For more information about these and other upcoming programs, visit or contact Project Director Jorge Garcia.

John Daly Branch (Daly City Library) continues Taste of the Top of the Hill, with a second free, in-library food “tour” on Wednesday, November 15 showcasing the food and cultures of the city’s diverse immigrant communities. Browse pop-up “stalls” hosted by immigrant entrepreneurs, talk with chefs and merchants, enjoy tastings of (and stories about) traditional foods from various cultures, and take home an annotated map to guide your own future explorations. Find more information here or contact Project Directors Zach Whitley and Celina Tirona at 650-991-8073.

Escondido Public Librar yCulture Fair series flyer 2023

Escondido Public Library will hold a second event in its Cultural Fair Series of programs exploring the culture and history of recent immigrants to the city with Afghan Culture and Arton Saturday, November 18, 2–4:30 pm. Organized in collaboration with local community partners, this family-friendly program will provide opportunities to meet local Afghan community members, enjoy Afghan live music and dance, and learn about Afghan women’s clothing. You can also create your own traditional artwork and visit the professional Afghan artwork exhibition. For more information about this and other events in the series, contact Project Director Azar Katouzian at

Hayward Public Library’s beloved bookmobile, “Curbie,” will pay a return visit to two senior living facilities on Friday, November 30. In addition to facilitating social interactions and the sharing and recording of stories and recipes by the seniors, mostly Chinese and Korean immigrants, library and social services staff will provide cooking demonstrations, distribute books and produce bags, and provide information about other resources and opportunities. For more information about Curbie Cares, contact Project Director Reina Escovedo at


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