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This Asian-American Book Collection Is On the Move in Seattle

Inspired by the renowned Asian American Curriculum Project, a California bookstore specializing in Asian-American books, Sabrina Chen longed for a similar space in Seattle. But the cost of starting a bookstore was too high. So her friend, Derek Dizon suggested starting small: a single bookshelf, that travels.

The API Flying Bookshelf is a slim, understated collection currently tucked into a corner of Seattle's Eastern Café. It houses about one hundred donated books described by City Arts Online as “a diverse collection of work that ranges from colon-heavy academic titles to bestsellers like The Kite Runner.”

“The stories within our Asian and Pacific Islander American communities have long been invisible,” say co-founders Chen and Dizon, “We believe our communities can be empowered through reclaiming and rediscovering our own histories and narratives.”

Ten volunteers curate the books and literary events as the library “flies” from café to café. "We wanted to make them accessible to the community," said Dizon.

Similar literary spaces already exist —Eastwind Books in Berkeley, Asian American Writers Workshop in New York, Kearny Street Workshop in San Francisco, Tuesday Night Project in Los Angeles, Ricepaper in Vancouver, and a new online bookclub at the Smithsonian— but this project still launched to a full house last week.

Check out the library of the future 2:14

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