Every April 20, the United Nations recognizes the contribution of Chinese literature, poetry, and language in world culture by celebrating Chinese Language Day. Philadelphia is home to some of the largest Chinese and Chinese-American communities in the United States. Chinese (including Mandarin and Cantonese) is the third most commonly spoken language in the city, after English and Spanish.
Since our library buildings are currently closed in the interest of public health, our Chinese language collections at Independence, Northeast Regional, Walnut Street West, Parkway Central, Charles Santore, Greater Olney, and Whitman Libraries are not available for browsing at the moment. However, our largest branch—the Free Library website—is available to you 24/7 with your library card!
Here are four fun ways you can celebrate Chinese Language Day this year at home with the Free Library:
- Watch a movie
With your Free Library card, you can access up to 4 movies a month on Kanopy, a digital streaming video platform that features a wealth of independent and international films. To celebrate Chinese Language Day, check out the award-winning documentary Hanzi: Exploring Language and Culture through Chinese Typography. In the mood for something more escapist? Try City on Fire, the 1987 Hong Kong crime thriller that inspired Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.
- Listen to some music
Check out our online music databases, Contemporary World Music and Smithsonian Global Sounds, for some Chinese-language tunes. There are hundreds of options in Mandarin and Cantonese. I’m celebrating Chinese Language Day by listening to the 2018 collection, Chinese Love Songs, as I write this post.
- Practice your language skills
Mango Languages is available to all library users for free with their library cards and offers instruction in over 70 languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, and an abbreviated course in Shanghainese greetings and eating out vocabulary. 试试看/Shì shìkàn (Give it a try)!
- Check out an ebook or audiobook
Overdrive has more than 200 titles in Chinese, from language learning textbooks to children’s books to cookbooks. You can also access ebooks and audiobooks through Hoopla and RBdigital.