Open for Business, Finally: The Oka Tadoku Room, Asia Library

I’m delighted to be able to announce, finally, that all of Asia Library is open for use. Our hours are the same as those of Hatcher Library. Asia Library has undergone a significant renovation: the creation of the Mayumi and Masao Oka Tadoku Room

Shortly before the pandemic, Mayumi Oka, retired head of the University’s Japanese Language Program, approached the Library to suggest that Asia Library create a dedicated space for the practice of Tadoku (多読), a Japanese language-learning method that brings students in contact with a large selection of books with a variety of reading levels. They are encouraged to become acquainted with the book in a different way than they would with a regular textbook; that is, not looking up every unknown word in a dictionary but engaging briefly with different materials in succession to develop reading proficiency. The Library was thrilled by the idea that it could provide a space to help students work toward the mastery of the Japanese language that they would need to make productive use of Asia Library’s resources. Along the way, the Chinese and Korean language programs also expressed interest in the project, and so we have included materials in those languages as well. 

In addition to housing materials, the space will host language classes that include a Tadoku component, and we hope that relevant student organizations will hold gatherings there as well. When the space is not formally reserved for these activities, it will of course be open as a place for study. Its Japanese-influenced design renders the Oka Tadoku Room unique among library spaces, and we expect that it will become more and more popular as word about it spreads.

Mayumi and Masao Oka not only provided the resources to develop this lovely space, they also established an additional generous gift allowing us to have a student intern dedicated to the space each year. Their responsibilities will include (a) promoting the room through word of mouth, social media, and other means; (b) developing ways to facilitate and increase student engagement with the room; and (c) executing additional ideas for Tadoku room-related activities that emerge along the way. We will introduce you to our inaugural intern and his activities in a future post.

The photo accompanying this post gives you an idea, but there is nothing like the real thing. Please come to the fourth floor of Hatcher North and check out the beautiful Mayumi and Masao Oka Tadoku Room as soon as you can!