Last summer, the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated that the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) shift its focus to finding innovative new ways to fulfill its core mission of increasing the understanding of East Asia in Wisconsin.
One result was launching the East Asia in Wisconsin Library Program. Offering grants of up to $1,000 per library, the program encouraged 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. More than 38 libraries in 14 different library systems throughout Wisconsin received grants through this program.
CEAS is delighted to announce the program is back for the 2021-2022 academic year and is now accepting applications. Full details, ideas for materials and programming, and a link to the application can be found at https://eastasia.wisc.edu/eainwisconsin.
Last year 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. “The East Asia in Wisconsin Libraries grant program is about more than putting books on shelves,” shares Cindy Fesemyer, the Library Adult And Community Services Consultant for the Department of Public Instruction. “It’s about opening the world to Wisconsin communities through innovative library programming and the availability of current materials in collections.”
The Waupaca Area Public Library used its grant to host a children’s kite event with an East Asian theme, hold exhibits with East Asian artwork, and add an East Asian title to an existing adult book club.
“We generated excitement for upcoming programs at a time when it is critical to have patrons return to our library,” said Waupaca’s Liz Kneer.
Other participating libraries reported that the grant “helped us boost our collection with fresh books,” “add(ed) diverse books to every collection in the library,” and allowed the opportunity for “book club studies of East Asia youth fiction that are really part of the diverse #ownvoices movement. It is a great asset to our patrons, especially our school district.”
The East Asia in Wisconsin Library Program is partially funded by a Title VI grant from the US Department of Education.