SUMMIT, NJ - The Summit Free Public Library hosts a Chinese Culture Club event on the first and third Tuesday night of each month from 7 - 8:30 p.m. The Club is open to Summit-area residents, including residents of nearby towns. Open to K-5 students, the Chinese Culture Club welcomes students of any nationality who understand basic Chinese and would like to practice Mandarin Chinese in a warm and welcoming environment through games, activities, and crafts.
The Chinese Culture Club’s goal is to allow children to practice Mandarin while learning about Chinese history and traditions. Each session is organized and run by Chinese volunteers.
“We first got the idea of hosting a Chinese book club in the Library a few years ago. The program is actually much harder to organize than it sounds, ” said Ni Liu, a Summit resident and one of the lead volunteers of the library’s Chinese Culture Club. “Believe or not, nearly 50 Chinese volunteers from Summit, Chatham, Mountainside, New Providence, and other surrounding towns are involved. Participants have donated Chinese books, helped create teaching materials, and have attended the club events as teachers and assistants. The Library staff also provided tremendous support.”
Each session of the Chinese Culture Club is led by native Chinese speakers. Sophia Yang and Xia Wang, both residents of Summit, were the leaders of the November 5 session which focused on Li Dong -- the beginning of winter -- one of the 24 Solar Terms of China.
“Sophia and I spent tons of time together preparing the materials beforehand," Xia stated. “It was all worth it just to see the smiles on the children's faces.” This year’s 'Li Dong Day' happened on November 8, three days before the official start of Li Dong. The children learned the old customs of Li Dong, listened to folk stories, and played fun games to practice the words and phrases that were introduced, so that they could go back home, share what they learned, and celebrate the day with their family and friends.
The Chinese Culture Club series is part of the Summit Free Public Library’s multicultural program. The Library won the state 'Multicultural Program Award' earlier this past year in recognition of their Chinese New Year activities during the month of February 2019. This year the library will host its eighth annual Chinese New Year celebration on January 18, from 4 - 7 p.m.
The greater Summit community is welcome to attend and help celebrate 'The Year of the Rat'.