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

California Humanities Wins Schwartz Prize for Outstanding Public Humanities Programming

2020_Schwartz Prize (for web)

The national award recognizes Library Innovation Lab, which supports responsive and relevant public humanities programming in California’s public libraries.


(Oakland, CA) — California Humanities is a 2020 recipient of the Schwartz Prize for outstanding work in the public humanities, a prize that is awarded annually by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. This is the fifth time California Humanities has been similarly honored, receiving this recognition in 2001, 2007, 2009, and 2015. This year California Humanities is awarded for Library Innovation Lab (LIL), an ongoing, capacity-building and professional development program for California’s public libraries.

“We are delighted to receive the Schwartz Prize,” said California Humanities President & CEO Julie Fry. “The Library Innovation Lab has established a sustainable model that focuses on helping California’s public libraries engage with their immigrant communities through free, culturally relevant programming.”

Each year, California Humanities provides year-long, practice-based opportunities for ten library specialists along with grant awards of $5,000 to assist with developing programming to offer welcoming experiences to immigrants and foster more inclusive communities. Over the last four years, the program has engaged more than 33,000 Californians and over 40 partner libraries. Now, faced with the challenges of COVID-19, the council’s 2020 efforts include experimenting with various types of virtual and physically distanced public programming.

In addition to California Humanities, Humanities Texas, Vermont Humanities, and Humanities Washington also received awards for their programs. “This year’s winners highlight the depth and breadth the humanities offer today and the ability of the humanities councils to adapt, innovate, connect, and continue to serve their communities through crises,” said Phoebe Stein, President of the Federation of State Humanities Councils. “From reaching often underserved immigrant populations to engaging communities in conversations about anti-racism and supporting our K-12 teachers and community members when COVID-19 hit, these programs reflect the power of the humanities in everyday American life.”

The Schwartz Prize is made possible through an endowment established by Helen and Martin Schwartz in the early 1980s and was designed to bring recognition to outstanding public humanities programs.

The Library Innovation Lab is supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

To read the Federation of State Humanities Councils’ Schwartz Prize full press release, click here. To view a list of LIL partners, click here.

About California Humanities:
California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, promotes the humanities—focused on ideas, conversation and learning—as relevant, meaningful ways to understand the human condition and connect people to each other in order to help strengthen California. California Humanities has provided grants and programs across the state since 1975. To learn more, visit, or like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the Federation of State Humanities Councils:
Founded in 1977, the Federation of State Humanities Councils is the national member association of the US state and jurisdictional humanities councils. Our purpose is to provide leadership, advocacy, and information to help members advance programs that engage millions of citizens across diverse populations in community and civic life.




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