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Library needs $1M for books


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POSTED: Sunday, March 08, 2009

In about a month, the state will demolish the Manoa Library to begin a two-year, $10.3 million reconstruction that will double the building's size.

But while funding to build the library has been secured, filling the library's shelves with books when it reopens in 2011 may pose a more daunting problem.

Officials estimate it will cost about $1 million to furnish the library and stock the bookshelves. With the recession, getting that kind of money from the state seems unlikely.

Already, 10 percent of the library system's budget has been cut. If steeper cuts are made, the state would be forced to close eight libraries and cut 20 employees, said Keith Fujio, administrative services director for Hawaii's libraries.

“;Opening Manoa is two years away. I'm just looking at how to get past June 30th (the end of the fiscal year) right now,”; Fujio said. “;All indications are (the budget) is going to be knocked down some more.”;

Fujio hopes that the economy will start recovering by the time the library reopens. Officials are planning to submit a supplemental budget request next year to pay for Manoa's new books.

If money for the new library's furniture and collection is not secured, the library would open with old furniture from the current library and a collection about three-quarters empty.

The state had a similar situation in 2002 when the newly finished Kapolei Library collected dust for two years because there was no funding for staff or books.

At 13,000 square feet, the new Manoa library will be similar in size to Liliha Library.

Manoa's new library will be two stories tall with room for 100,000 books. The first floor will be a parking garage that doubles the current number of stalls to about 40. There will be a children's room, meeting room and larger staff area.

Manoa branch manager Christel Collins said the expansion also will help the library staff, who have been operating in cramped spaces.

Opened 43 years ago, the library is the second smallest on Oahu behind Waialua.

From 2004 to 2006 it had the 10th-highest circulation and the top circulation per square foot on the island.

Last fiscal year was the library's busiest with a circulation of 221,896, about 6,000 higher than the previous year.

During the construction, an interim library will be open in two portable buildings at Noelani Elementary School across the street. The portables, which cost $600,000 to build, will be donated to the school after the library is complete.

A smaller staff will run the interim library, while the rest head to other branches.

The library will close for about two weeks as the collection is moved to the portables. The current 50,000-item collection will be cut in half, with about 10,000 items going into circulation at the portables, 15,000 being stored and 25,000 items being discarded or donated to other facilities.

Collins said library users will be able to check out DVDs, children's picture books, and new books at the interim library. Library users can also pick up reserved books and use the Internet. The temporary library will be open 29 hours a week, down from 42.