Libraries across Wisconsin respond to new CEAS program

After weeks of canceling and indefinitely suspending normal programming due to the COVID19 outbreak in March, the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) shifted its focus mid-summer to finding innovative new ways to fulfill its core mission of increasing understanding of East Asia.

This resulted in a new program that will hopefully become a regular CEAS offering: the East Asia in Wisconsin Library Program. Offering grants of up to $1,000 per library, the program encourages Wisconsin libraries to augment their collections with East Asia-related materials, and to design new book clubs and other programing with an East Asian theme. CEAS partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Wisconsin Library Association, and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center to plan and promote the new program.

The call for proposals, which closed Oct. 1, resulted in 38 applications from across the state.

Librarians proposed a wide variety of programming: from children’s book kits focused on origami and the Lunar New Year, to adult book discussions about recent East Asian fiction, to new film collections of South Korean hits, to revamping the cook book stacks to celebrate the food cultures of East Asia. Librarians also jumped on the opportunity to enhance their East Asian offerings.

“Our collection needs titles that go beyond catering to tourists; we need quality titles that introduce children and adults to the history and to contemporary society of East Asian countries,” wrote one application. “This grant would definitely help us to provide a variety of accessible titles that will hopefully act as an impetus for patrons’ further exploration of East Asian topics.”

To prepare for the program, CEAS staff worked with faculty to create a list of over 200 titles of books and films focused on China, Japan, the Koreas, Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong that librarians could consider for their proposals. The center also offered libraries programing expertise on the following themes:

  • Japanese haiku poetry
  • The political division of Korea
  • The writings of Qing Dynasty scholar Yu Yue

Find out more about the new program at this link:

CEAS is currently reviewing the applications, with funding decisions expected by early November.