Boston Public Library Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

BPL celebrates Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month with new booklist, special events, and highlighted Special Collections items

BOSTON, April 27, 2023 — The Boston Public Library (BPL) honors Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month by releasing the Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month booklist, holding special events across the BPL system, and highlighting items from the Special Collections department. AAPI Heritage Month, celebrated throughout the month of May, is a time to acknowledge the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.  

The Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month booklist is comprised of 75 recently published titles focusing on the experiences of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities of the United States. Compiled by staff librarians from the Central Library, the Brighton Branch, the Chinatown Branch, the Fields Corner Branch, and the Roslindale Branch, the Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month booklist features selected titles written either by Asian American and Pacific Islander American authors, or are about AAPI history and culture. Categories on the list include memoir, food writing, poetry & art, nonfiction, and fiction. The list contains titles for adults, teenagers, and children by renowned authors such as Vishwesh Bhatt, Eric Kim, Thanhhà Lại, Celeste Ng, Ocean Vuong, and Alice Wong.  

Each book on the list contains a synopsis and is accompanied by an image of the book cover as well as classification information. In addition to print books, select titles are available digitally as an eBook and/or audiobook. 

Along with the booklist, the BPL will also pay tribute to the achievements and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with performing arts events, film screenings, book group discussions, lectures, arts and crafts workshops, and more. Highlights include:  

  • Opera Night with the Boston Lyric Opera — Representation Matters: AAPI Voices & Stories  | May 25, Central Library        
    • Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) presents an evening of opera performance and conversation exploring what it means to have Asian representation in the opera industry, which stories we choose to share, and who gets creative ownership in telling these stories.
  • Lotus Flower Lantern Workshop for adults and for kids | May 9 & 11, Fields Corner          
    • The Korean Spirit and Culture Promotion Project will show patrons step-by-step instructions on how to make a lovely lotus flower lantern.
  • AAPI in Public Safety  | May 18, Central Library         
    • This is an information session to explore the disparities of AAPI representation in Public Safety and to highlight members excelling in the industry. 
  • Book Club: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See | May 25, Hyde Park         
    • This AAPI Heritage Month, join the Hyde Park Book Club group in reading “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.” Copies of the book are available for checkout at the circulation desk. 
  • Kanopy Club | May 4 & May 25, Online         
    • Kanopy is a free streaming platform offered to all BPL users. Patrons are invited to watch the films on their own time, and join us for a virtual discussion. This month’s picks are The Farewell (2019) and Meet the Patels (2014).
  • And more coming soon! For a full list of events visit  

Additionally, BPL’s Special Collections Department will host an AAPI Heritage Month Special Collections Sampler, offering a hands-on experience to explore and interact with Asian American and Pacific Islander authors and creators’ work.  

The sampler includes photographs by Japanese conceptual artist Kenji Nakahashi; a 1923 letter from poet Yoné Noguchi, the first Japanese writer to publish poetry in English; a 1964 art portfolio featuring the poems of Chinese-American poet Walasse Ting alongside lithographs from various 1960s artists, and more.  

The Special Collections department will host an open house on May 2nd from 2-4pm in their space at the Central Library in Copley Square.  Special Collections staff will be available to answer questions as visitors explore these items up close.  For those unable to attend the Open House, the items will be available throughout the month of May to use in the Special Collections reading room, Wednesday – Friday, 9:30am-4:30pm, with no appointment necessary.  

BPL will also use its social media platforms during May to highlight notable objects from its collections depicting the history and experiences of the Asian American and Pacific Islander American communities. 

Physical copies of the Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month booklist will be available at all BPL locations on May 1, and it can be accessed digitally here.  In addition, the booklist and information about related programs also appears on the BPL website at and on the BPL social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). 

The Boston Public Library produces curated booklists and holds educational and celebratory events for Black History Month in February, LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June, Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15–Oct. 15), and National Native American Heritage Month in November.