Celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month! This month, San Mateo County Libraries champions are celebrating the heritage, stories and impact of our AAPI community. San Mateo County Libraries is hosting transformative workshops and events during the month of May to commemorate the rich cultures and traditions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

About AAPI Heritage Month

AAPI is a broad term referring to descendants from Asia and the surrounding island groups in the Pacific Ocean, including Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. According to the Library of Congress, May was selected for AAPI Heritage Month in honor of the first Japanese immigrants to arrive in the United States on May 7, 1843. May also serves as a remembrance of the Chinese immigrants who laid the tracks and helped complete the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.

Join Us For AAPI-Inspired Events

Our libraries are hosting events all throughout May to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month. Whether you're looking to jam out at a ukelele lesson or shake it up at a cultural dance class, we have activities for everyone this month!

Snack & Paint Workshop

Join us for a Snack & Paint Workshop hosted by local artist Alex Martinez, opens a new window. Her work is inspired by pop culture, animation and her Filipino heritage. Learn how to paint a fun and funky combination inspired by popular snack food and tropical flowers. Please register in advance for one of these children & teen workshops. Young children are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Ukulele Island Jam

Kelepi Vuiyale from Samoan Solutions will lead a jam session of island music and teach basic ukelele skills, like the tuning, strumming and chord sequence used in island songs. This children and teens event doesn't require any experience. Feel free to bring your ukulele or borrow one of ours! Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot.

Siva Sasa: A Samoan Village Dance Workshop

Learn about this traditional Samoan dance through Samoan language, movements and music. Aaliyah Aumavae from Samoan Solutions will teach basic level, all ages choreography and help create your library's very own Siva Sasa. This class is open to all fitness levels, with modifications to accommodate different skill levels. Register for this fun workshop today!

Hawaiian Music and Dance

Join us for an exciting and interactive all ages experience led by Haopinaka Hawaiian Music and Dance. Attendees will see performances of Hawaiian songs, hula dancing and learn the meaning and context of each song. Attendees will also be invited to participate in learning basic hula during the performance. Stop by one of their performances to enjoy the wonderful sounds and dances of Hawaii. Mahalo nui!

Ikebana with Gloria Lee

Ikebana is the art of Japanese flower arrangement. Join us for an adult workshop with ikebana artist Gloria Lee for a demonstration on this elegant botanical art. Register to create your own ikebana.

Magic Mushi Forest

Learn about color theory and create a tabletop mushroom forest with Oakland-based artist Malisa Suchanya in this creative all ages event. Sign up to design your own charming magic mushi forest!

Melody Yan Fusion Music Performance

Melody Yan's Fusion Music is an incorporation of Western music with Chinese traditional musical instruments, such as the guzheng. The gorgeous sounds from the guzheng, coupled with the aesthetics of music shaped by Chinese culture, induce a wonderful state of tranquility in listeners. Check out one of her all ages concerts to enjoy the wonderful sounds of Melody Yan!

Shibori Workshop

Experiment with this traditional Japanese technique for coloring cloth, utilizing an artform more than two thousand years old. Register to make your own at this adults Shibori Workshop today!

Tune Into AAPI Music

There is a wealth of incredible music written and published by AAPI musicians. Here's a list of acclaimed albums that you may not know were created by members of the AAPI community!



Be the Cowboy



One foot on sand

Legends of the Ukulele