Now entering its fifth year, our Library Innovation Lab (LIL), a nationally– recognized program, supports California’s public libraries in welcoming newcomers and fostering more inclusive communities across our state. Over the past four years, 42 California libraries have participated in the program, reaching over 40,000 Californians through their project activities. Library participants receive a nine-month practice-based professional development experience and grants of up to $5,000. We congratulate the LIL 2020 and 2021 cohorts!
Facing the challenges posed by the pandemic, which made traditional face-to-face public programming in libraries nearly impossible, the 2020 cohort nevertheless succeeded in developing successful community programs. Among these was a week-long series of virtual programs offered by the Oceanside Library in San Diego that provided interactive and hands-on experiences for all ages to promote learning about and appreciation for Japanese cultural heritage and traditions. In the Sierra community of Truckee, the library organized a family-friendly drive-in movie screening and trunk-or-treat celebration at the local airport featuring the film Coco to celebrate Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos. And at the Studio City Branch in Los Angeles, the library hosted an online writing workshop that produced an anthology of stories, poems, and essays by first- and second-generation immigrants culminating with a live virtual reading of work.
In April, the 2021 LIL program launched with a three-day virtual convening of the ten participating public librarians representing libraries from across the state. Each cohort member will research, design, implement and assess a small-scale, short-term public humanities project at their library during the coming months.
Working in a collaborative learning environment that incorporates group meetings and individualized support from peer mentors (program alumni), staff, and consultants, they will experiment with new approaches to programming, develop skills, and build capacity to work with immigrants and other constituencies in their communities. The kick-off meeting included an afternoon workshop in Design Thinking. This approach prioritizes the needs of “users” and promotes empathy and understanding on the part of programmers. We are excited that this new cohort will also be able to turn to past participants for inspiration, advice, and encouragement.
A list of all Library Innovation Lab grantees with descriptions of completed projects can be found here.
To view the 2021 Library Innovation Lab cohort list, click here.
ABOUT LIBRARY INNOVATION LAB
Library Innovation Lab is supported in part by the Wells Fargo Foundation and the generosity of individual donors throughout California.