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 person dressed in a Palestinian embroidered green dress with a headscarf stands in front of a display featuring Palestinian culture items.

Celebrate Family Heritage and Immigrant Traditions in Libraries This Month

November brings more public programs at libraries around the state, honoring the contributions of immigrants to California’s cultural mosaic. Libraries participating in this year’s Library Innovation Lab: Exploring New Ways of Engaging California’s Immigrant Communities (LIL) will be offering activities for all ages, including hands-on arts and craft-making sessions, story hours, family history workshops, and exhibits. All events are free and open to the public. Visit the LIL program page and check our online calendar for more information about events near you. 

Coachella Library concludes its series ¡Celebrando Tradiciones, Culturas Unidas! on Monday, November 1, with the Unveiling of the Día de los Muertos – Coachella UNIDA Altar. Created in collaboration with local residents over the past two months, the altar will commemorate Latinx community members, immigrants, and all whose memories are cherished. Click here for more information or contact Denise Lopez Gomez, Branch Manager Intern, 

Anaheim Public Library will launch Ahlan Wa Sahlan/Welcome, a six-week series celebrating the culture and contributions of Arab Americans, with the opening of the Arab American National Museum’s (AANM) traveling exhibition, Arab Americans: History, Culture, and Contributions, on November 9. Visitors can explore the exhibit, sample Arab desserts, and enjoy live Arabic music. Upcoming events include a conversation about Arab cuisine with a local restauranteur on November 16 and a talk about the Arabic language and culture by a UC Irvine professor on November 17. Families can learn to play board games popular in the Arab world at a game night on November 23 and participate in a series of children’s bilingual (Arabic and English) storytime and craft programs. For more information, contact Curita Tinker, Library Assistant,

Santa Cruz Public Library invites the community to view the commemorative Día de los Muertos altars created from community contributions of drawings, photos, letters, stories, poetry, art, and ephemera at two branches this month as part of Días de los Nuestros: A Celebration of Art, Cultures, and Community. Join the bilingual celebrations at the Felton branch on Saturday, November 6, and the Capitola branch on Sunday, November 7. In addition, a Spanish storytime and light (pre-wrapped) refreshments are provided. For more information, contact Branch Librarian Jacqueline Danziger at 

Orange Library will offer Preserving Your Family Photographs, a do-it-yourself workshop on Wednesday, November 10, as part of its fall programming series: Más allá de la historia única: Preserving Latino History in Orange. Learn expert techniques and methods from professional archivists that will enable you to safeguard your family’s treasured memories for future generations. For more information, contact Librarian Lizette Guerra at 

San Leandro Public Library continues (be)Longing: Woven into the Fabric of Our Community, a series of intergenerational community events to promote learning about and embracing the diverse cultures that makeup San Leandro. On Wednesday, November 17, teens (grades 6-12) are invited to join an afterschool zine-making workshop led by CoyoteWoman/Kanyon Sayers-Roods, a local Costanoan Ohlone-Mutsun and Chumash activist, artist, and educator. That evening, all ages can enjoy a traditional dance performance by young people frm the Intertribal Friendship House of Oakland and stay for listening circles and an arts and crafts/to-go dessert box provided by Café Ohlone. For more information, contact Librarian Patricia Mallari at 

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. In addition, cash awards to the participating libraries support innovative programming that engages immigrant populations and offers welcoming and inclusive experiences for all community members. Recruitment for our 2022 Cohort will begin in December.  


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