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StarBulletin.com

Makiki Library reopens tomorrow


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POSTED: Tuesday, March 24, 2009

If it were a book, the nonprofit Makiki Library might be known as “;The Little Library That Could.”;

Closed for lack of building funds in 2005, the library operated mainly by volunteers is officially reopening tomorrow, after having a soft opening about a year ago.

The group is holding a series of events, including a book sale from 2 to 8 p.m. and the dedication of the Frank F. Fasi Citizen Resource Center at 5:30 p.m.

“;It's going to be wonderful,”; said Jeanette Koga-Horen, a volunteer and president of Hui o Makiki.

Koga-Horen said scores of volunteers cleaned layers of dirt and dust from each book.

“;It took us months,”; she said.

The building at 1527 Keeaumoku St., an old Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association experiment station, was founded more than 30 years ago as the state's only independent, city-sponsored library.

Former Honolulu Mayor Fasi was instrumental in obtaining city funds, books and essential furniture for the library to open in 1976.

The library has had its financial ups and downs.

Because it did not fall under the state library system, it failed to receive state funding, and the city withdrew its financial support in 1995.

The Friends of the Makiki Community Library began operating the library from donations and book sales.

Although the state Legislature appropriated $4.5 million to help create a community center and computer learning center within it, Gov. Linda Lingle withheld the funds in 2005 because it was not a state facility.

The building was closed for repairs because of its dilapidated condition, and the city paid about $2 million for renovations, including the installation of an elevator and fire sprinkler system.

During initial repairs, the library found it needed more work.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann handed the keys back to the Friends of the Makiki Community Learning Center last year.

Although housed in a city parks building, it is managed by the Friends group, whose members have been working to prepare the library for the formal reopening.

REOPENING FESTIVITIES

Events marking the grand reopening of Makiki Library:
» Tomorrow, 5:30 p.m. Dedication of the Frank F. Fasi Citizen Resource Center
» Tomorrow, 2-8 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday, April 1, 4 and 5, Scholastic Book Fair & Used Book Sale
» Saturday, 9-10 a.m., Ala Wai Watershed Project with Cindy Barger, Army Corps of Engineers, Arts & Crafts Building, Makiki Park
» Saturday, 9 a.m.- noon and April 1, 5-7:30 p.m., Tax Preparation/Assistance Workshops, free, by Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii
The library's regular hours of operation are Wednesdays, 2-6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, noon-4 p.m.