The Fiesta is Not Canceled - San Francisco Public Library Comes Alive this Fall with a Celebration of Latino Heritage

Media Contact: Kate Patterson  

The Library’s annual iVIVA!: Latino Hispanic Heritage Month offers virtual programming for audiences of all ages—and in Spanish too!

Logo for Viva 2020 programming

San Francisco, CAIn Spanish, “viva” translates as “to live,” and this fall, San Francisco Public Library is giving the public plenty of reasons to enjoy life with its virtual fiesta, ¡Viva! Latino Hispanic Heritage Month. The Library will come alive with a kaleidoscope of free programs for youth, families and adults, including craft programs, a family cooking class, artist and author talks, Queer Latinx History, Latinx kid lit panels, a concert and more. Many of the programs will be offered in Spanish as well.

“This year’s theme is Harvesting Hope,” says City Librarian Michael Lambert, “We want ¡Viva! to be a bright spot for the community during these challenging times. Each week, we will offer a fresh and engaging way to experience Latino Hispanic culture with some of the Bay Area’s most talented artists, writers and thinkers.”

Adults can look forward to a celebration of culture, art and authors. In anticipation of SFMOMA’s Diego Rivera’s America, scholar Will Maynez discusses Rivera’s time in San Francisco and the making of his City College mural, Pan American Unity. And where there is Diego, one can often find Frida. In October, the Library will host a talk with Celia Stahr, author of Frida In America: The Creative Awakening of a Great Artist, a riveting story of how three years spent in the United States transformed Frida Kahlo into the artist we know today

Additionally, the Library is partnering with The Mexican Museum for two art talks. Robert McDonald of Bond Latin Gallery presents “Mexico in San Francisco”, a visual presentation of Mexican artists who were instrumental in a movement blending politics and beauty, and well-known Mexican contemporary painter Daniel Lezama discusses a retrospective of his work. The Library will also take patrons behind the scenes for an intimate look at the art practice of Oaxacan-born Calixto Robles a painter, printmaker and ceramic sculptor whose work is inspired by the Native Cultures of the World.

Authors of compelling works compose a key part of iVIVA!. Roberto Lovato, Salvadoran-American journalist, reads from his book Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas, a recounting of his 2015 trip to El Salvador to investigate the country’s horrific gang wars, coming out in September. Following his reading, Lovato will discuss his work with award-winning author Ingrid Rojas Contreras. And the public should not miss seeing author, educator, activist and SF native Benjamin Bac Sierra talk about his new book, Pura Neta, the long-awaited sequel to Barrio Bushido. There is also a panel discussion with members of the groundbreaking author collective, Las Musas, Aida Salazar, Rebecca Balcárcel and Reina Luz Alegre, who will share their latest works, discuss Latinx cultural elements and offer advice for young writers.

Cultural programs for youth and families abound with a special amate paper craft program offered in partnership with The Mexican Museum, family cooking class presented in Spanish and a special family concert by Latin Grammy winners The Lucky Band. Weekly live storytimes in Spanish offer an early literacy foundation for caregivers of children up to 5 years old.

For a full program of events and book recommendations for every reading level, visit


Diego Rivera in San Francisco with Will Maynez, Saturday, Sept. 12, 11 a.m.–12 p.m.

Roberto Lovato, Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 6–7 p.m.

Mexico in San Francisco, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2–3 p.m.
In partnership with The Mexican Museum and Bond Latin Gallery. Reserve:

Daniel Lezama, Art Talk, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2–3 p.m. 

Book Club: Barrio Bushido by Benjamin Bac Sierra, Monday, Sept. 28, 7–8 p.m. 

Benjamin Bac Sierra in Conversation with Luis Rodriguez, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 7–8 p.m. 

Queer Brown Stories Over Time and Spaces, Thursday, October 15, 7 p.m.
Four queer Latinx cultural producers share examples of how our presentation of documented events, artworks, and political stories have elevated social justice movements in the United States over the last few decades.

Artist Talk: Calixto Robles, Agua es Vida (Water is Life) Water is Life, Monday, October 19, 6 p.m.

Presentation: Cuban Graphics in Bay Area with Lincoln Cushing, Monday, October 19, 7 p.m.
Lincoln Cushng, archivist, historian and graphics collector will present and discuss Cuban Graphics with links to the Bay Area.

Poetry: Alejandro Murguía and guests, Friday, October 23, Noon 
José Cadena, co-founder of Vos Sin Tinta reading series at Alley Cat Books; Leticia Hernández, author of Mucha Muchacha, and Alejandro Murguía, author of Spare Poems and former Poet Laureate of San Francisco.

Día de Muertos con Calixto Robles en español, Sunday, October 25, 11 a.m. 
Learn about the history and celebration of Day of the Dead with San Francisco artist, Calixto Robles. This event will be in Spanish.


Latinx Kidlit Past and Future, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 5–6 p.m. Tune in on YouTube.

Celebrate Chilean Cooking, Friday, Sept. 18, 3–3:45 p.m. Tune in on YouTube. In Spanish.

Craft: Amate Paper Paintings, Friday, Sept. 25, 3–4 p.m. Tune in on YouTube.

Storytime en Español, Thursdays, 11–11:30 a.m.

The Lucky Band, Saturday, Sept. 19, 11–11:30 a.m.

Las Musas Panel with Aida Salazar, Rebecca Balcárcel and Reina Luz Alegre in Conversation
Wednesday, Sept. 30, 5–6 p.m. Tune in on YouTube.


Community Chat for School Success
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 5–6 p.m. For families with pre-K through elementary school-age children. Presented in Spanish.

August 19, 2020