Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How They Do It in Hawaii

I am visiting Mom for a week. Mom lives in Kailua, a bedroom community on the windward side of Oahu, in the same house she bought in 1960. It's just a couple of blocks from the Kailua Library, where I got my start in the library business as a shelver.

Kailua Library is a busy branch that sees a lot of visitors because of its proximity to the "best white sand beach in the world." Yesterday, I stopped in to say hi to the staff, and to sign up for a visitor's library card. The card costs $25 and is good for 5 years! (Residents of Hawaii get free cards, of course!)

Libraries in Hawaii are suffering the same kinds of funding shortfalls as the Sacramento library system. They are expecting a 10% budget reduction in the next fiscal year, which means they will have to "close branches", in the words of the Kailua branch manger.

Although there is Internet access in all branches, only two branches offer wi-fi. The State can't afford it, so if a branch wants to offer wi-fi, I it needs to come up with the funds - usually through the Friends of the Library.

I am hoping to visit additional branches this week, and collect more info to share about this unique library system.

Beautifulcataya's photo used with permission.

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