Thank you to Librarians Hilary Holley for the write-up and Monica Chapa Domercq for the research and program planning! Their community narrative stated: People want a safe place to learn as well as share ideas and experiences. Clearly, they are meeting a need for this type of forum in an engaging way. . Read more about Oceanside Public Library’s unique take on Californians: Community Conversations about Immigration.
Oceanside Public Library’s Living Library event featured several participants from different backgrounds speaking about topics related to California immigration. Participants were chosen based on their expertise on or personal experiences with immigration, all of which were also analogous with titles from the bookshelf provided by the California Center for the Book. Event attendees were excited by the prospect of hearing unique immigration stories from people who were essentially their neighbors. Several people mentioned that they never would have known that the people in their community had had these kinds of experiences if not for this event, which allowed them to interact with the participants and each other in a capacity that facilitated an intimate discussion and exchange of ideas. More than just personal stories, participants also shared local immigration history with the audience. Chuck Ambers, curator of the African Museum in San Diego, spoke about Nathan Harrison, an African-American who immigrated to California in 1850’s and became the first person to strike gold in Julian, California, a nearby town. Mitsuko and Yukio Kawamoto, a Japanese-American couple, shared their personal experiences growing up in California internment camps. The event provided a unique platform for a dialogue between participants and event attendees about the history and ideas that are at the root of immigration and offered an opportunity for event attendees to get to know their community better!