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This article describes a library's successful community engagement project that served to promote Chinese language and culture education in a small rural university town. To celebrate National Poetry Month, the James E. Brooks Library of Central Washington University (CWU) in Ellensburg, Washington, hosted a series of bilingual poetry readings. To provide proper context, this paper also examines the interwoven historical background of Washington State and CWU, along with their relationships with Chinese people. The poetry programs were planned and carried out by a broad range of participants, including language- learners, native speakers, CWU students, faculty, librarians, international students, visiting scholars, and local community members. Participants from these various constituencies assisted in selecting poems in the original Chinese language along with their English translations. Poetry is a form of communication that is freighted with beliefs, values, traditions, mores, customs, and other expressions of cultural significance. Much of the effect of poetry is conveyed through emotion, sound, rhythm, assonance, alliteration, and other means, which do not necessarily require the listener to have mastery of the language or vocabulary of the original poem. Readings were held in the library’s Academic & Research Commons. The programs were free and open to the general public. The audio recordings and images have been loaded to CWU’s institutional repository and made available as streaming podcasts on Ellensburg (WA) Community Radio.


This article was originally published in Chinese Librarianship: an International Electronic Journal. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


Chinese Librarianship: an International Electronic Journal


© the author(s), 2018.