Cal Humanities

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

Sherina Han Khampraseuth - a master performer in lanard (or lanat), sits with another person behind a suspended, wooden xylophone.

November Library Innovation Lab Programming Offers Cultural Events Throughout California

Celebrate November by learning about the stories and cultural traditions of California’s diverse immigrant populations. Libraries participating in our 2020 Library Innovation Lab offer an enticing array of virtual and physically distanced public programs that will appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Library Innovation Lab is an ongoing program of California Humanities that supports responsive and relevant public humanities programming in California’s public libraries by providing a practice-based, capacity-building, professional development experience for library programming specialists. Grants to the participating libraries support innovative programming that engages immigrant populations and offers welcoming and inclusive experiences for all community members. Please check our online calendar for additional events near you.

Fresno County Public Library

Fresno County Public Library will continue its “Our Culture, Our Stories” series, exploring two local immigrant communities’ heritage. Programs on November 5-7 highlight Lao arts and culture, including a live demonstration/performance of Khaen Music by Bounxeung Synanonh, and 2016 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow on November 5. The next week, programs will focus on Syrian foodways, with a talk by Nour Al Mshantaf, author of Syrian Recipes From Home, on November 12, followed by live cooking demonstrations of traditional delicacies on November 13 and 14. Visit or contact Isariya Locke, Community Librarian, 559-691-0257, for more information.

Santa Clarita Public Library

Santa Clarita Public Library will host “History of Wheat”, an interactive cooking demonstration and conversation on November 10. The event is part of a three-part series exploring the relationship between Latin American food, culture, and history. Recipes are provided for those who want to try them at home. Visit contact Morgan Lazo, Adult Services Librarian, 661-799-6107, for more details about this program and other activities related to Our Voices/Our Food/Our Culture: Nuestras Voces/Nuestra Comida/Nuestra Cultura.

Studio City Library

Studio City Library (a branch of Los Angeles Public Library) will host the second series of writing workshops starting November 9. Facilitated by humanities scholar, author, and publisher Ilan Stavans, “The Restless Books Immigrant Writing Workshop” will support immigrants as they develop their voices, increase self-confidence and self-esteem, and strengthen English language speaking and writing skills. More information is available at; email Adult Library Emily Aaronson at to register.

Point Reyes Library

Point Reyes Library (a branch of Marin County Free Library) will screen Many Voices, No Single Story, a short documentary film featuring local immigrants, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and interview subjects on November 6. The film is screened again on November 7 at the Bolinas Mesa Park Drive-in – admission is free. Other online programs, including “Baile!”, children’s dance classes conducted in Spanish on November 14 and 24, and “Mexica Prophecy and Practices for Changing Times.” A presentation about Aztec cultural practices by a researcher and cultural bearer and their relevance to contemporary life on November 21 rounds out the month’s activities. For more information and to register (required), visit the events tab at or contact Annemarie Russo, Literacy Coordinator, and Community Library Specialist at


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