Library ready to grow


POSTED: Thursday, June 11, 2009

After nearly 30 years of bureaucratic delays and planning problems, Manoa residents will receive a new library.





        Key dates in the history of Manoa Public Library's expansion:

1980: State Sen. Neil Abercrombie proposes an appropriation for the expansion of Manoa Public Library.


1993: A proposal to transfer land from the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture for the new library is made and $100,000 is appropriated for the design. The proposal was modified to transfer land from the UH Institute for Astronomy parking lot instead.


1995: Money for planning the new library makes it through the legislative session.


1996: The state Board of Education recommends funding, but Gov. Ben Cayetano doesn't include the library in the budget.


1997: State Legislature approves $6.6 million for the library.


2006: Gov. Linda Lingle releases $6.5 million. The city decides that expansion into the astronomy parking lot is impractical.


2007: Lingle releases an extra $3.8 million. Lingle releases $600,000 more for an interim library.




The Manoa Public Library will close on July 2 until the new building opens in 2012, said Christel Collins, head librarian, but patrons will use an interim library across the street.

“;As Manoa has been developed, with a heavy emphasis on residences and schools, the library's resources have become strained,”; said Collins.

The library was built in 1966 when the area was mainly rural, so the 6,500-square-foot building was adequate for the small community, said Collins. However, as Manoa grew, so did a need for a larger library. The need to expand also comes from serving four schools in the district: Noelani Elementary, Manoa Elementary, St. Francis and Mid-Pacific Institute.

The new library will cover 13,000 square feet and include a children's room, meeting room and bigger staff area. The number of parking stalls will also double to 42.

According to the state, the new Manoa Library will be the second “;green”; library in Hawaii. It will be built with recycled materials and sustainable features, such as waterless urinals, an underground water collection tank, solar panels and natural lighting. The library also will have a shower for employees who bike to work and parking stalls that give priority to hybrid vehicles, Collins said.

“;I think it's a really wonderful idea. It's definitely a big saving for the taxpayers and it's part of the values of the Manoa community,”; she added.

When construction begins in August, an interim library will be open to the public at Noelani Elementary School. Only three out of nine employees will transfer to the interim library, while the rest of the staff will work at other libraries. It will be in a 1,000-square-foot portable room that holds about 10,000 materials.

Jane Luo, a Manoa resident, goes to the library every week with her 5-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son and borrows 20 to 30 books each time. She plans to visit the interim library when it opens but is worried about its size.

“;It's not very convenient,”; said Luo. “;I think it's going to be very small.”;

The expansion was first proposed in 1980, but there have been questions about which site to use, with two sites considered. Project funding was recommended in 1996, but the expansion didn't make it into the budget.

The Legislature approved funding in 1997, but Gov. Linda Lingle did not release a total of $10.3 million for the project and $600,000 for the interim building until 2006 and 2007.

During these tough economic times, Collins is aware that the project might be criticized its cost, but explained that the money had already been promised to bidders so “;it really couldn't go anywhere else. “;This project started long before the fiscal crisis and will end long after it,”; she said.