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2 campaigns raise funds for public libraries


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POSTED: Thursday, September 03, 2009

Got $3?

The Friends of the Library of Hawaii and the Hawaii State Public Library System hope patrons will donate at least that amount to help keep open the state's public libraries.

The Friends and the library system kicked off fundraising campaigns yesterday to raise money for individual libraries and for the library system. They're hoping that if everyone who has used a public library contributes at least $3, they can raise at least $3 million, enough to prevent additional cutbacks in library hours and days.

The Board of Education is scheduled to hear a proposal tonight to close the 51 state library branches two additional days a month and to authorize the state librarian to close branches up to four days a month to balance the budget.

If the proposal is approved, state Librarian Richard Burns will begin negotiations with public worker unions to furlough library employees for at least two days a month through June 2011.

               

     

 

How to Donate

       

» Cash or checks made out to the Friends of the Library of Hawaii can be mailed to the group at 690 Pohukaina St., Honolulu, HI 96813. Write “Keep the Doors Open!” in the check memo line.

       

» Donations are also accepted at any Bank of Hawaii branch.

       

» Go to www.friendsofthelibraryofhawaii.org to donate online using a credit card. Or call the Friends office at 536-4174 to donate using your credit card over the phone.

       

» Checks payable to the Hawaii State Public Library System can also be dropped off at any branch or mailed to the Office of the State Librarian, Administrative Services Branch, 44 Merchant St., Honolulu, HI 96813. Designate a branch to receive your donation on the check memo line.

       

» Donations are tax deductible.

       

“;We are at the point where, without taking extraordinary measures to raise funds, libraries are going to have to close doors,”; said Susan Li, the president of the Friends of the Library of Hawaii. “;The friends of the libraries wants to ensure that no library has to close its doors.”;

The friends have established accounts at Bank of Hawaii for each library and for the library system to support the “;Keep the Doors Open!”; fundraising campaign. The library system is also collecting donations for each library in a related “;Keep Your Library Open!”; campaign.

Donors can indicate if they want the money to go to a specific branch or to the state library system.

Burns said the library is dealing with a $6 million cut and a hiring freeze.

If nothing is done, the library system will run out of money by mid-May, he said.

The cuts mean there is no money for new books this year and the budget for temporary hires is being reduced by 75 percent. In addition, there are 72 vacant positions.

Three public libraries—Holualoa, Kealakekua and Lahaina—are in danger of closing because they are short-staffed and cannot meet minimum staffing requirements without temporary hires, Burns said in a memo to the board. An additional 28 libraries will have to reduce hours or close intermittently without temporary workers.

Last month, the Mountain View and Hanapepe libraries had to close or operate on shortened hours because of staff shortages. This month, the Lahaina library will close for a week because a staff member is on vacation.