May is AAPI Heritage Month

May is AAPI Heritage Month, and recognizes the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. The reason May was chosen comes back to two important dates; May 7 and May 10. May 7, 1843, marks the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States. And May 10, 1869, or Golden Spike Day, recognizes the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the U.S., which had significant contributions from Chinese workers. CALS will have events throughout the system to celebrate the month and the heritage. The EOA has created an AAPI Scavenger Hunt (download here). Grace M. Cho’s memoir, Tastes Like War, is available May 3-17 for the Big Library Read, meaning there are no download limits through Libby so that everyone can read the book together! We highly recommend you check it out. You may already be familiar with Cho who was a speaker back in February through the Library Speaker Consortium.


Tuesday STEAM Teens –Nainoa Thompson and the Science of Wayfinding on Tuesday, May 2 (First Tuesday of Month)

Time: Homeschool Edition: 2:30PM | After-School Edition 4:00 PM

Description: Discover how Native Hawaiian Nainoa Thompson used math to reconstruct the lost Polynesian technique of the star compass.  Make your own sextant and compass as we explore different navigation tools used throughout history.

Asian and Pacific Islanders children’s story-time on Wednesday May 10th at 10am (for ages 2-3) and at 11:30am (for ages 4-5). We will be decorating traditional fans from all a variety of AAPI countries.

Tuesday STEAM Teens :–Dr. Peter Tsai and the power of N95 on Tuesday, May 16  (Third Tuesday of the Month), Homeschool Edition: 2:30PM | After-School Edition 4:00 PM. Learn how scientific contributions of Asian-Americans like Dr. Peter Tsai, inventor of the N95 mask, have kept us safe.  Conduct experiments to demonstrate N95’s electrostatic power and test its efficacy against cloth and surgical masks.

Japanese Daruma Dolls & Internment Camps in Arkansas  on Thursday, May 18 , 4:00 PM.  Make a Daruma Doll, a traditional Japanese wobble toy that symbolizes luck and perseverance. Learn about the history of Japanese-American Internment Camps in Arkansas.

Tuesday, May 9th @ 6pm – Adult Craft Night- Make a traditional, Japanese style-herbarium & learn about foliage’s symoblic meanings in Japanese culture.

Tuesday, May 23rd @ 6pm- Adult Cooking Class – Make traditional Chinese dishes in our teaching kitchen!

Tuesday, May 30th @ 6pm- Bitter Sacrifices w/ Heather Zbinden from Roberts Library. Bitter Sacrifices: The Experiences of Japanese Americans in World War II Arkansas through Art & Writing — Between 1942 and 1945, over 16,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated behind barbed wire in two War Relocation Authority Centers at Rohwer and Jerome, Arkansas. Inmates – from high school students to elderly hobby artists – created an artistic legacy and documented their experience using charcoal, watercolor, and pencil. Learn about this important history and the effects of this dark chapter in Arkansas.


“Suminagashi Workshop” which will take place on May 13, from 2-3:30 on the fifth floor. It’s an ancient marbling technique that originated in Japan.

 Suminagashi is a Japanese form of marbling which can be translated to “floating ink”. Create a beautiful one-of-a-kind marbled work of art using water, ink, and various types of paper. Registration is required and space is limited. Email to register.


Rohwer and Jerome: Japanese American WWII Incarceration Camps in Arkansas

Friday, March 10, through Saturday, June 24
Underground Gallery 

Between 1942 and 1945, over 16,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated at Rohwer and Jerome, Arkansas. Inmates of all ages documented their experience using charcoal, watercolor, and pencil. The CALS Roberts Library is mounting the first large-scale exhibition of the Gould/Vogel Collection since 2018.

To schedule a guided tour of the exhibition for groups of 10 or more, please contact Heather Zbinden at

View images from the Rosalie Santine Gould-Mabel Jamison Vogel collection here.

Author Events

Suzanne Park, a Korean American, will be speaking on her book, The Do Over,  on May 18 at 6:30 p.m. This event is presented virtually but requires registration.

Ronnie Woo , an Asian American chef will be speaking on his book, Did You Eat Yet? as part of the Six Bridges Presents programming. His event is June 1 at 6:30 p.m. (just after AAPI Heritage month, but we think it still counts!) This event will also be presented virtually and requires registration.