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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Podcast

Asian American, Pacific Islanders Heritage month
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Tune into this month’s episode of the PLYMC Library Anywhere Podcast for a celebration of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Heritage! Two librarians discuss how the library is honoring Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) all through the month of May with information, programs, and book recommendations.  

For 2022, the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) has chosen the theme: “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration.” On their website, you will find a timeline showing the creation of this month-long celebration, along with links to AAPI websites.  

It is important to remember that there are many countries, cultures, and ethnicities that are included in the broad phrase “Asian American Pacific Islander.” This is a month to learn about the many contributions they have made to the United States since the early days of our country through to the present. For example, the completion of the transcontinental railroad was accomplished through the hard work of many Chinese immigrants. In fact, one reason May was selected as the month to recognize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders was due to that railroad on May 10, 1869. 

One way to celebrate this month is to take the time to learn about the history of Asians and Pacific Islanders in America, plus read about significant individuals of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent. To help you, the library has created an Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month blog posted on May 1st. Here you will find information on how to use the many library resources, which your library card provides free access to, to learn about them. 

Another way is to learn more about the countries from which they came. A great resource to use for this is AtoZ The World. Here you will find information about all the countries of the world. For each country, information is divided into many categories. Of particular note for learning about background history and culture are: 

  • Country Overview provides country facts, cultural overview and more. 
  • Business section covers not only business etiquette and attire. 
  • Culture & Society section covers greetings & courtesies and superstitions & folklore, plus much more. 
  • Food & Recipes gives you the instructions for creating a full course meal from appetizers to dessert, with pictures of how the completed dishes should look. 
  • History includes a detailed timeline and biographies of significant individuals 
  • Holidays & Festivals provides the dates and background of major holidays and festivals that are celebrated in the country. 
  • Maps of many types – physical, population, temperature, and others. 
  • Music covers both traditional and modern 
  • Names details the naming structure used and popular surnames 

We even have a resource where you can take an educational course to learn about China or Japan: Universal Class. I did a search for “Culture” and found these two courses: 

Universal Class culture search finds Chinese Japanese studies screenshot

Another resource to visit for country information is Gale eBooks, scroll to Browse Collections and click on Nation and World, and you can click on the cover for the Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World. You can use the Search Within Publication box, typing in a country name, to locate information about each country’s foods, along with recipes.  

Gale eBooks Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World screenshot

While not every recipe has a picture, there are detailed instructions on how to make each dish. Plus, there are links to recommended websites for more food and recipes! 

As we are on the topic food, for the non-cooks out there (like me), Youngstown does have a variety of restaurants to visit to try Chinese, Japanese, and Indian cuisine. And, a bonus of going to many of these restaurants is that you may also hear traditional music. 

And, talking about music leads me to a special resource our library provides that is a perfect fit for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month – the library’s Ukulele Kits. The Ukulele is an instrument now uniquely identified with the Pacific Islands of Hawaii, created from the instruments known as the Machete and the Cavaquinho, which were brought there by Portuguese immigrants from the Madeira Islands of the Atlantic Ocean. (source: Ungvarsky, Janine. “Ukulele.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2020. EBSCOhost). To learn to play a library Ukulele, go to LinkedIn Learning and search “Ukulele” which will find: 

LinkedIn Learning Ukulele search finds Ukulele Lessons Fundamentals course by Daniel Ho screenshot

Or you can check out a book, eBook, or even a DVD, as found in the library’s BiblioCommons Catalog. 

Of course, to hear lots of music, you should try Hoopla, the library’s streaming resource which has music, ebooks, audiobooks, movies & TV shows. You can find music from different countries by using the search box, limited to Music, to search for: 

  • Asian – finds 80 albums 
  • Chinese – finds over 50 albums 
  • India – finds over 130 albums 
  • Japanese – finds over 60 albums 
  • Korean – finds over 20 albums 
  • Philippine – finds 10 albums 
  • Vietnamese – finds 18 albums 

These are just a few examples as you can search any country or ethnic group to find music. With Hoopla, you can find foreign movies to enjoy from various countries, as well. Watching movies is another fun way to enjoy AAPIH month! You can even use this resource to teach Chinese, Japanese, and Korean to children by browsing Movies Genres & CollectionsGenres Children’s Educational Language Learning 

Learning some of the languages spoken by the cultures of AAPI is yet another way to show respect for Asia Americans & Pacific Islanders. And, while Hoopla had a few movies to teach languages to children, the library has two great resources with lots of full-length language courses available free to all library cardholders: 

In both resources, you could try the following Asian and Pacific languages: 

  • Bengali 
  • Chinese: Cantonese or Mandarin 
  • Filipino (Tagalog) 
  • Hawaiian 
  • Hindi 
  • Indonesian 
  • Japanese 
  • Korean 
  • Malay 
  • Tamil 
  • Thai 
  • Urdu 
  • Vietnamese 

There are even more Asian/Pacific languages to learn as each resource has additional languages not taught in the other. For example, Mango has Javanese, Malayalam and Shanghainese. While Transparent Languages has Balinese, Hmong, Maori, and Nepali. There are even language courses geared towards children. Both language resources teach Chinese Mandarin for children, but Mango also has children’s level courses for Japanese & Korean. 

A final library resource to use this month is Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center. Here you can find a wide variety of arts, crafts, and even recipes to make based on the various ethnic groups represented by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. For example, a search for “Origami,” the Japanese craft of paper-folding craft, finds over 900 articles, many with instructions for different objects to make. You can find articles about cooking from different countries, such as searching “Korean Cooking” or “Korean Recipes.” Even searching a country name, such as India, can find interesting articles about the art and artists of the country, and much more. 

I hope you enjoy trying out the many ways to observe Asian American Pacific Islander Month. Learning about other cultures can be both educational and fun! 

Sara Churchill

Sara Churchill is the Digital Services Specialist and Assistant Supervisor in the Information Services Department at Main Library. A major fan of technology devices and computer research resources at work, she enjoys helping everyone learn to use their devices and the library's many online resources.  She loves reading Science Fiction/Fantasy books, British cozy mysteries, True Crime and other true stories, plus a past reader of horror fiction by the likes of Stephen King and John Saul (among others).  Also, she’s a big fan of Sci-fi, action, horror, spaghetti westerns, and based-on-a-true story movies.  Her blogs are for adults and the entire family to enjoy reading and trying out the many online resources free for PLYMC library cardholders to use.