Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Asian Studies Guide

Facts about AAPI

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month has been observed since 1997, when Congress expanded to a month-long celebration the observance of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week, which was established by joint congressional resolution in 1978. 

"Per a 1997 U.S. Office of Management and Budget directive, the Asian or Pacific Islander racial category was separated into two categories: one being Asian and the other Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander." (U.S. Census Bureau, 2022)

Below shows visualized AAPI Population by State (Social Explorer. Race 2020. Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau.).

AAPI Heritage Month (May 2022): Newer Acquisitions

AAPI Heritage Month (May 2022): Books

Asian Americans is "an umbrella term for immigrants who came from the Asian land mass and for the modern Americans who are descended from them." Though they "are not homogeneous ethnically, religiously, politically or culturally," " there is an impressive human reality behind the words." "One and a half million Asians left their homes and came to the USA for a new life" and brought their cultures to the United States (Kendall, 2010).


Kendall, J. (2010), "Asian American History and Culture: an Encyclopedia", Reference Reviews, Vol. 24 No. 8, pp. 16-17.

"Discrimination Against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Communities." Gale Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2021. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints.

The e-books in Asian/Pacific American studies in this box are selected in honor of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May 2022).

Ask any research librarian available for help through our Ask Us research service!

"Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island)."

"The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants."


Digital Archives, Streaming Media and More

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success.

The National Archives holds a wealth of material documenting the Asian and Pacific Islander experience, and it highlights these resources online, in programs, and through traditional and social media.

American artists of Asian heritage bring a combined legacy to their work, and varieties of Asian thought and spiritual practice have had a profound and lasting influence on a remarkable number of Western artists. Influence has been a two-way street between contemporary American art practice and Asian cultures, past and present.

This council selects the theme for the month and provides AAPI Heritage Month history, population data–like the image to the right–and other resources.

Celebrate the month with a collection of PBS video stories that explore the history, traditions and culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

A new study reports that 8 in 10 Asian Americans believe they are regularly discriminated against in the United States.

The Stop AAPI Hate reporting center was launched in March 2020 in response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The center tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Founding organizations are the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University.

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)

Smithsonian Institution

Native Hawaiian filmmaker Conrad Lihilihi presents a four part historical Docu-series examinig the 1896 Hawaiian Language Ban from public education. This series approaches the subject culminating a rich and diverse panel of academics in language, history, and politics.

FORKLIFE traces the journeys of immigrant food traditions taking root in the United States, narrated by the D.C. chefs and cooks who carried them here.

In New York City's Chinatown, college student Regina Lee and other volunteers organized a neighborhood health fair to improve health literacy in their community.

Hiu Newcomb, a third generation Chinese American, is the co-owner and operator of Potomac Vegetable Farms in Vienna, Virginia. In this interview she discusses her family's origins in the United States and her start as an organic farmer in Virginia.

Library Collections

This series traces the story of Asian Americans, spanning 150 years of immigration, racial politics, and cultural innovation. It is a timely look at the role that Asian Americans have played in defining who we are as a nation. During a time of war and social tumult, a young generation fights for equality in the fields, on campuses and in the culture, and claims a new identity: Asian Americans. The aftermath of the Vietnam War brings new immigrants and refugees.