This May, pay tribute to the Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month) is an annual month-long celebration to recognize the significant contributions of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) descent to the United States.
The AAPI umbrella term includes cultures from the entire Asian continent and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. AAPI people have a long history in the United States spanning through the first Filipinos arriving in Louisana, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and Japanese American Internment.
Today, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing racial group in the United States. Get your library prepared to celebrate the vibrant stories of AAPI immigrants and citizens.
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Last updated: May 1, 2023
An excellent place to start researching background information on AAPI Heritage Month is the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month website. The website was developed by the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The website can direct you to teacher resources and a plethora of other resources such as videos and virtual exhibition collections.
Library Programming Ideas
- The New York Public Library has an extensive array of events, programs, panels and more planned for the month of May.
- Take a virtual cherry blossom tour or discuss the model minority myth with Prince George's County (Md.) Memorial Library System.
- Orange County (Fl.) Library System invites patrons with a large array of AAPI-inspired programs including Vietnamese silk painting, Hula dancing, Japanese wood block prints and more.
- Glendale (Calif.) Library is hosting a craft program to make Asian culture-inspired DIY shrink film accessories.
- Densho preserves the stories of Japanese American incarceration during WWII. The website is full of free teaching materials and learning resources on this often under-taught part of U.S. history.
- Smithsonian Education offers a wide variety of resources, including Vietnamese America, Chinese American and Korean American lesson plans as well as teacher guides for Buddhism, Islamic art, and Hindu worship.
- The National Endowment for the Humanities has a Teacher's Guide with guiding questions and resources on the Model Minority Myth, AAPI Poetry, AAPI Media and Film, and more.
- The Library of Congress has a number of links to educational resources from its partners, including NEH’s EDSITEment Asian-Pacific Heritage pages, NARA’s Teaching with Documents series, the National Gallery of Art’s “Teaching The Golden Age of Chinese Archaeology” and Teaching Edo Art in Japan,” and the National Park Service’s Asian Reflections on the American Landscape: Identifying Asian Heritage.
- ReadWriteThink lists related classroom activities as well as lesson plans.
- PBS shares 31 stories for 31 days of AAPI month.
- ALA Graphics offers a bookmark to help promote your events.
- Google Arts and Culture created an interactive list of 12 ways to celebrate.
- The Cyprus College Library compiled a list of DVDs and books.
- Ozobot offers some ideas on how to use STEAM to teach and celebrate AAPI history.
- San Francisco's Asian Art Museum celebrates AAPI culture year-long with performances, cooking demonstrations and art lessons.
- This Vox series on AAPI stories and experiences.
- The New York Times topic on Asian-American stories.