Asian Library 60th Anniversary – Community Engagement

The Asian Library’s efforts in community engagement have attested to the underpinnings of the university’s aspirations. From its earliest days, the library has been actively reaching out to broader communities in B.C., in Canada and internationally. Through programming, events and exhibits of interests to campus or community, the Asian Library works together with its partners to foster collaboration, creativity and intercultural understanding.

This section presents a slideshow of more than 100 past photos, which puts the spotlight on exciting engagement projects and initiatives undertaken by the Asian Library in the last two decades.

Celebrating the diversity of Asian culture: At the beginning of each year, the Asian Library joins the Department of Asian Studies and other campus partners in celebrating the Lunar New Year, the most important festival for Chinese and Korean. Attendees have opportunities to take part in traditional cultural activities, to browse theme-related book display, as well as to enjoy New Year food samples. Since 2017, we have been having fun in the fall at the Diwali (Festival of Lights) celebrations. Participants are invited to experience the South Asian culture through a variety of musical and dance performances, presentations, henna painting, and samosa!

Connecting local communities and university neighbourhood: With the growing number of residents who speak and read Asian languages in Greater Vancouver, the Asian Library in partnership with Alumni UBC has started the Asian Language book clubs with two languages (Chinese and Japanese) in 2016. Two years later, with the support from the Faculty of Arts, the Book Club program was extend to four languages (Korean, Punjabi, Japanese, and Chinese). In June 2019, the library worked together with the University Neighbourhood Association and offered Asian language storytime at Congress 2019. All these initiatives aim to provide an opportunity for people with fluency in Asian-language to form ties with others in their respective literacy communities.

Sharing knowledge, resources and fun: One of the Asian Library’s featured events between 2000 and 2011 was the annual open house, in celebration of the Asian Heritage Month. It was a full day of fun and informative library and culture programs that attracted hundreds of people visiting the library. In 2009 and 2010, the event was folded into the multi-department Asia Voilà celebration. Over the years, the library as well as its community partners created notable displays showcasing library’s resources and promoting Asian art and culture. Past exhibits include Cantonese opera music in British Columbia, mid-20th century Cantonese musical instruments, missionary photographs of Meiji-Taisho Japan, and displays of artworks by local artists.

Revisiting the history of Asian-Canadians: In collaboration with campus and community partners, the Asian Library conducted research projects and joined in events to revisit the history of Asian-Canadians, including Historical Chinese Language Materials in B.C., Head Tax project, WCILCOS Conference on Chinese Overseas Studies, the UBC Day of Learning on the 75th anniversary of Japanese Canadian internment, etc.


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