Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Month with EPL

May 1, 2024

EVANSTON, ILL. – During the month of May, the Evanston Public Library is celebrating the Asian American and Pacific Islanders in our community and around the world. Asian American and Pacific Islander Month shines a light on the contributions of Asian Americans throughout history while celebrating the diversity of rich cultures within the Asian American community. 

The Evanston Public Library is highlighting the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders throughout the month with programming designed to help patrons learn about and experience Asian American culture. Here’s a look at programs happening this month: 

Programming for Adults

  • May 07: The Many Lives of Kal Penn. In his 47 years of life, Kal Penn has achieved so much. From starring in the Harold & Kumar franchise to a stint as the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, serving as the President’s Liaison to Young Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Penn released his first book, You Can’t Be Serious, in 2021.  Join EPL for a conversation with Kal Penn on his latest projects. Tuesday, May 07, 7-8:00 pm, Virtual. Register
  • May 23: A Traditional Chinese Tea Demonstration: According to Confucianism, the art of tea is as much transformative on an introspective level as it is on a ceremonial level. EJoin Yvonne Wolf and engage in the ritual of tea handling, teaware function and identification, and proper tea steeping with Yvonne Wolf. Yvonne will offer two types of tea tastings, including one non-caffeinated option. Thursday, May 23, 11:00am – 12:30 pm, Robert Crown Branch. Register
  • May 26: Japanese Calligraphy (shodō). 書道, or shodō is a form of calligraphy that is backed by thousands of years of history. This class is presented by The Japanese Cultural Center of Chicago, an organization dedicated to sharing Japan’s rich culture with the public. This class is appropriate for those 16+. All supplies are provided and space is limited. Registration is required. Sunday, May 26, 1 – 2:30 pm, Robert Crown Branch. Register
  • May 29: The Placemaking Project. Asian Americans have been living in the Evanston area since the 1800’s yet there are no records, documents, or artifacts that mark their existence much less their contributions to the city’s development and growth over the years. The Placemaking Project seeks to uncover the stories that have been lost and to record the ones that exist today in an effort to prevent the cultural erasure that threatens the Asian American community across the country and in our own backyard. Wednesday, May 29, 12 – 1:00 pm, Robert Crown Branch. Register.

Programs for Kids, Teens, and Families

  • Throughout May: Riley visits Asia. Our mascot Riley is visiting Asia!, Ccan you find all the dishes they try on their journey? Find all the delicious dishes that Riley tries during their trip AND name the country they’re from, and you can enter a raffle to win a gift card from a local business. At the Robert Crown Library Learn More
  • Throughout May: Short & Sweet: In Honor of Lei Day. Come to the Main Library Children’s Room to pick up your Short & Sweet Craft Kit with a QR code for the reading of a beautiful story and a Lei craft in honor of Lei Day. This month’s kit features Pig Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawaiʻi. Kits are available starting May 1st, while supplies last. At the Main Library Register
  • May 09: Teen Anime Club Meetup. Anime is a popular style of animation from Japan that has taken the West by storm. Join us for our regular Anime Club where we’ll hang out, watch anime, talk about our favorites, have a snack, do crafts, and play some video games! For grades 6-12. Thursday, May 09: 4:30pm – 6:30pm, Robert Crown Branch. Register.
  • May 09: Tween Anime Club Meetup. Our popular Anime Club, but geared for ages 9-11! Thursday, May 09: 4:30pm – 6:30pm, Robert Crown Branch. Register.
  • May 19: DIY Japanese Woodblock Prints. Popular during the Edo period (1615 – 1868), colorful woodblock prints, known as ukiyo-e, depicted scenes from everyday Japan. Create your own woodblock print, whether you take inspiration from the Edo period style or your own imagination! This activity is open to all ages, no registration is required. Sunday, May 19, 2 – 3:30 pm, Robert Crown Branch. Register.

Book Clubs

  • Wider Net Book Group: The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese. On South India’s Malabar Coast, three generations of a family suffer a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning—and in Kerala, water is everywhere. Monday, May 20, 6- 7:30 pm Main Library  Register
  • Better Off Read Book Group: The Verifiers. Claudia is used to disregarding her fractious family’s model-minority expectations: she has no interest in finding either a conventional career or a nice Chinese boy. She’s also used to keeping secrets from them, such as that she prefers girls—and that she’s just been stealth-recruited by Veracity, a referrals-only online dating detective agency.  Monday, May 20, 6:30 – 7:45 pm Robert Crown Library Register


  • Mango Languages: Is learning Tagalog on your bucket list? Or maybe you want to learn Tamil. Why not start now? Mango Languages is a platform that helps you can help you learn over 50 languages. 
  • Lote4Kids has hundreds of children’s picture books in various world languages created for children to enjoy books and learn language through storytelling. From Urdu to Cantonese, you can enjoy stories from all over Asia. Can’t speak Cantonese? No problem! Picture books on Lote4Kids have English translations so you can still enjoy stories from other cultures!
  • A to Z World Food has recipes from 174 countries. Take a culinary trip around Asia from your own kitchen! Each recipe on A to Z World Food comes with clear instructions and a bit of history surrounding the dish.
  • Kanopy allows you to stream more than 30,000 of the world’s best films on your smart TV, computer, or mobile device. Check out Kanopy’s vast selection of Asian media. From Korean classics to hidden gems from Thailand, there’s a world of Asian entertainment to explore.

Look for our tent at The Umbrella Arts Festival on May 11th. Every year The Umbrella Arts Festival celebrates Asian American history, culture, and art. The umbrella symbolizes the Asian American diaspora which includes a diversity of ethnicities from over 40 Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Island countries around the world, and is inclusive of the many intersections of identities that exist in our communities. Drop by our booth for activities, giveaways and more!


Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

Translate »