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06/07/2024
Chapter Newsletter

Library Funds Approved, What's Next?

We continue to celebrate the approval of the final portion of funding designated for the new Hawaii state library to be be built right here in Waikoloa Village. State Representative David Tarnas has provided timely and key information about the next steps. Pop over to our website's homepage https://www.flwrhi.org/  to see a beautiful architectural illustration and short list of the next steps and timelines toward actual construction.
 

How did we get here?

 

You could call Friends of the Library - Waikoloa Region, "The little engine that could - and did - with a 'little help from our friends'"!

 

Waikoloa residents' efforts to create a state library in this region probably began as early as 2003, when, as Cindy Evans who was then the state representative for this district recalls, there was a meeting with a group of interested individuals in her living room. She explained to that group that establishing a library where none existed would be years in the making and would need a group of citizens who would carry the baton through changes in leadership at all levels of government.

A group of dedicated residents took the required steps in 2010 to first incorporate and then apply to the state-wide "Friends of the Library" organization as an affiliate member in order to be classified as a 501(c)(3) organization. This became the Friends of the Library - Waikoloa Region (FL-WR).

 

At that time, anyone who wanted to check out or return a physical book had to drive a half hour to Waimea or almost an hour to Kona. That is still the case, but our bookmobile, given to the FL-WR by the State Library, has helped ease the pinch.

That bookmobile is full of donated books and staffed by a team of volunteers, led by board member Donna Konie. Open daily from nine to five except for bad weather, this is a family-friendly place to borrow books and to participate in reading activities designed for keiki outside under the pergola.

 

Bette Green, who served as president of FL-WR during its first four years, led the way, with substantive support from then State Representative Cindy Evans on the first attempt to select a site for a new library.

Members of the community wrote 700 letters of support to the state legislature for funding for site selection and the necessary preparations for the site. Then State Representative Evans was able to push through a Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding allotment for $1.9m.

 

The saga of site selection was fraught with hopes followed by disappointments, with each potential site presenting its own challenges. Finally, eight years later, the fourth site was the one that worked; a site leased from Hawaii County for a nominal amount and located within Waikoloa Village. As now County Council Member Evans said recently, “persistence, focus, and never giving up were the ways toward a final pono situation for this long sought-after library.”

After an additional $13M in CIP funds was legislated in 2023, FLWR led another letter-writing campaign in March this year for the necessary final funding to actually construct the library.

Once again, members of the Waikoloa community wrote key members of the legislature in support.

 

Students attending Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School also wrote letters. Here is an excerpt from one letter:  “I am hoping for a library, because I LOVE studying. I really love preparing for tests. I have only been able to use the books at the bookmobile. Which for me is not enough. I also was hoping to have a good place to relax. I really love having a place to just read if home is too crazy. I try to read books or study as much as I can. I have not been able to do that with visitors at my home. I think it is something we can do. We just need the money. If I get a place for that it will make so much of a difference. A library can change so many people's lives, including mine. Please make that difference! Thank you for your consideration.”

Another student wrote, “This Waikoloa Regional Library would affect everyone in so many good ways that I can't even tell all the ways. It can help anyone learn to read, a place to rest/reset from home, or just give people time to read. I think that it’s very important that I and other people have a place to read and enjoy books and anything literacy.”

 

Excerpts from a few of the adults’ letters included, ”Libraries have been, and still are, a cornerstone of a community. A library is a place for free and equal dissemination of information, of course. But also, libraries are dynamic centers for community gatherings, education, and assistance for everything from job searching and computer access, to child care-giving."  

"Waikoloa is long overdue for a library. A growing community with a notable population of retired people as well as young families, Waikoloa needs a library for all the of the classic reasons noted above: community gatherings, education, social assistance, and equitable access across the economic range of its community members.”

 

“The library would not only provide the customary book and computer resources for all ages but would also serve as a venue for extracurricular education, tutoring, and training that could be provided by adult volunteers. They are able to provide a wealth of practical knowledge and career advice for various professional and non-professional occupations in the area. The facility would also be a venue for for adolescent-targeted activities such as music, art, and computer learning, subjects that may not fit into the curriculum of the regular public school day. I imagine adults in the community volunteering to present a host of subjects related to their occupations and interests. It is the kind of feature that bridges generations and helps prevent the alienation that adolescents are vulnerable to. I feel that this would lend a valuable sense of cohesiveness and stability to the entire community.”

“Libraries support life on these islands and help families remain here.”

 

This community clearly understands that libraries are no longer just quiet places containing books. They are places for all kinds of quality-of-life enhancements; the sharing of resources and knowledge and of connection to the worlds of art, information, history, language, other cultures, skills, and music; both local and global.

FL-WR is extremely happy that the final funding needs of $8M have been approved by the state legislature. As State Representative David Tarnas outlined in his letter to current FL-WR President Michael Gaston, next steps will be managed by State Librarian Stacey Aldrich, beginning with the formal request to release the funds, with hopes of requesting construction bids by the middle of 2025. https://www.flwrhi.org

Long-time FL-WR board member Ruth Bernstone said, "For this last round of funding, we thank State Representative David Tarnas and State Senator Tim Richards; we are well on our way.”

While we wait, FLWR continues with its devotion to promoting literacy both within the community and throughout the island for keiki and adults with author talk-stories, the annual Heluhelu Quiz Bowl, and fun and unique presentations by local experts on a variety of topics.

FL-WR looks forward to celebrating with you on the day that our new library’s doors open for the community!

 

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Author Sara Ackerman Talk Story

 

May 13, with board member David Giff’s leadership, we hosted local author Sara Ackerman who shared with about 30 attendees her inspirations for the stories in her books, her own uncharted path to authorship, and insights about her writing process. FLWR provided 10 copies of her latest book, The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West, and gave those, along with some new copies of Sara’s earlier books that she provided, to FLWR members in attendance.
 

FL-WR honored at Waikōloa School Hoʻolaulea

 

The Friends of the Library-Waikōloa Region was honored at the Waikōloa School Hoʻolaulea on May 24, in recognition of our efforts bringing author Frances Kakugawa to the school for presentations to grades Pre-K through 5 in February. David Giff was invited to represent our group.

 


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Books and a Beverage

Beach Read, by Emily Henry 

Havenʻt read it. Probably wonʻt. Not my kind of novel. But I believe taste in books is like taste in food: not everyone likes the same kind of books. And as a former librarian, I will defend everyoneʻs right to read whatever they choose or like, and will promote such books as well.

This sounds like a fun read and I especially love the title, apropos for our island life. It is the story of a best-selling romance writer and an acclaimed author of literary fiction who both have writerʻs block. Over a summer they live in neighboring beach houses and come to an agreement to each write a book different from their previous ones: the romance writer will write the next Great American Novel and the literary author will write something with a happy ending.

The State Library system has nine physical copies currently available, eight e-book copies, each with 10 holds currently, and seven audio book copies, with six holds on each. So it must be a good book!

We will have two copies available at the FL-WR Bookmobile.

Beverage Recipe

Kokoiki  - created by Nikki Dixon, Waikōloa resident. You can order it at the Seafood Bar in Kawaihae.

 

Ingredients:
   
1 oz Coconut Rum
1 oz Vanilla Vodka
3/4 oz Coconut syrup
3/4 oz Sweet and sour mix (margarita mix works)
1 lime squeezed
Splash of sour mix

Instructions:

Add ingredients to a tall glass filled with ice
Top off with soda/sparkling water
Add umbrella with cherry and lime garnish

For a non-alcoholic drink, skip the rum and vodka and add a drop of vanilla.

- David Giff

 

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Bookmobile Notes

Our Mother’s Day activity was so much fun.  We hope the moms enjoyed their gift of chocolate and flowers as much as the keiki did making it.  A big "mahalo" to Johnny’s Restaurant for donating all the Mother’s Day-themed books for the keikis to pick from. We really appreciate it!

And as always, a huge thank you to all our volunteers who put in countless hours, 80 3/4 hours to be exact, keeping the bookmobile running.  We couldn’t do it without you.  Anyone interested in volunteering please feel free to contact me at bookmobile@flwrhi.org.

Thanks to all of you who have so generously donated books.  Just a few reminders, for those planning to donate books: please remember to be sure books are not more than 10 years old and are in good condition; no textbooks or magazines . Audio books or DVDs are accepted but please make sure all the discs are there.  No CDs. Please leave donations in the bin inside the bookmobile or with a volunteer and NOT outside.
- Donna Konie


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Our new book acquisition, Beach Read, will be placed in the Bookmobile. Look for this label on the book covers


The bookmobile is open every day from 9am - 5pm (weather permitting)
Please return borrowed books to the donations bin inside the bookmobile.
 

Contact us at: bookmobile@flwrhi.org

GET THE LATEST UPDATES ON

  • Waikoloa Library Updates

  • Monthly Book and Beverage

  • Bookmobile Notes

  • Big Island Heluhelu Quiz Bowl

  • Volunteers are Needed!

    • FL-WR Board of Directors seeking new Director of Fundraising

    • FL-WR Book Club Coordinator Needed

    • If interested, please contact FL-WR Board President, Micheal Gaston at: president@flwrhi.org

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