This year, the 170th anniversary of California’s becoming the 31st state in the union, the California State Library is collecting and sharing 170 original stories that describe who—and what—California is for its website, Cal@170. The website, launched September 9, 2020, presents stories on topics as diverse as the state itself, including arts and culture, civil rights, people and places, innovation, sports, and law and politics. While it includes writings about natural disasters, massacres and riots, Cal@170 includes even more accounts of compassion, resilience, ingenuity and innovation. As California State Librarian Greg Lucas has stated, “To appreciate the grit, innovation and imagination at the heart of California you’ve got to see where we’ve been and what we’ve come through,” adding that California’s work to address injustice in its history forms part of the project as well.
So far, Cal@170 features 100 stories, and over the next few months, will be adding 70 more; these include submissions by California civic leaders, authors and historians. The State Library invites all Californians to contribute a story that defines what California means to them; to learn more about the site and contribute a story, please visit Cal@170.