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

A group of colorful orange, red, and yellow leaves

Library Innovation Lab Libraries Launch Fall Programs

Over the past five months, the dedicated librarians who are participating in the 2022 Library Innovation Lab (LIL) program cohort have been hard at work, interviewing community members, developing partnerships, and applying the tools of Design Thinking to envision creative and imaginative public humanities programs. Now they are ready to launch! Throughout the fall season, each library will offer a unique set of activities designed to interest and engage immigrants as well as members of the broader public in their community. For a list of participating libraries, visit the LIL program page and check our online calendar for events in your area.

Escondido Public Library kicks off Around the World in Many Ways, a series of family-friendly programs celebrating the cultural heritage of its immigrant communities, with a Mid-Autumn Festival September 8th from 5-7pm. Local author Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan will share stories and invite participants to learn about the origins and meaning of this pan-Asian tradition. Families will be able to enjoy moon cakes while making lanterns to take home for their own celebrations. For more information, contact librarian Maureen Hogan at

A flyer with orange and green paper lanterns hanging from a darkened sky
Flyer courtesy of Escondido Public Library.


Sonoma County Library’s Adult Literacy Program presents Arrivals and Departures, a series of public programs culminating in an anthology featuring stories of immigrants throughout Sonoma County. On September 3, the Santa Rosa Central Library offered an Author Talk and Writing Workshop with writer Reyna Grande, author of the immigration memoirs The Distance Between Us and A Dream Called Home, and the novel Across a Hundred Mountains, among others. Share your story about leaving your home country and seeking your future in the United States. Submissions are accepted in written and oral form and are due by September 30. Visit the Sonoma Library website to learn more or contact Jovanna Ayala at  

Santa Clarita Public Library presents Connecting through Art, Nature, Healing and Story, a creative outreach initiative and program series. On September 25, library staff host a bilingual Spanish/English Reflection Retreat in partnership with the City Parks Department featuring self-care experiences like support groups, sound baths, and journaling. Later this fall, the library plans to offer theater workshops, and a community showcase with open mic and storytelling. Free transportation is available! For more information, contact librarian Farima Kafai at

Irvine University Park Library is pleased to launch We are OC, a program series exploring diverse cultures represented in the OC community. A calendar of free public events includes a Family History Writing Workshop, K-Pop Dance Workshop, Tai Chi Demonstration, Mariachi Performance, Russian music and poetry, and many more cultural celebrations. Through these events, patrons are invited to see what makes each culture unique and to find connections between their neighbors’ cultures and their own. For more information, contact Marisa Saam at

Sutter County Library is collecting oral stories and interviews from recent immigrants, focusing on women who have emigrated from Afghanistan, with the goal of entertaining, engaging, and spreading resources to other immigrants throughout the Yuba-Sutter region. Their podcast, titled Our Newest Neighbors, will be in production through November; a culminating event consisting of a listening party will be in mid-December. For more information, write to librarian Marika Garcia at Marika E. Garcia  


Blog Header Photo by Greg Shield on Unsplash


A collage of six photos representing Library Innovation Lab programs.

About Library Innovation Lab:  

The Library Innovation Lab is supported in part by the Wells Fargo Foundation and the generosity of individual donors throughout California. Learn more here.



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