QUESTION: Can you look into the matter of Manoa Public Library? It’s just enormous for a neighborhood library. We’re concerned about state money going to a project like this with Furlough Fridays and students not getting a good education.
ANSWER: The two-story structure, with 15,000 square feet on each level, will provide many more books and resources in a community where demand is high, and the old facility was too small and inadequate, according to officials with the Hawaii State Public Library System.
It is set to open late this year.
Regarding the $10.3 million construction cost, State Librarian Richard Burns pointed out that construction funds are appropriated for specific projects and cannot be used to pay for salaries. Initial funds were approved by the Legislature in 2005, when the state was not in the fiscal crisis that it’s in today, he said.
The new facility will be about the size of the Kalihi or Liliha library but appears much larger because it is close to the street and has two floors, one to accommodate required parking on a "fairly small" 25,000-square-foot lot, Burns said.
The first floor, built slightly above street level to protect against possible flooding, will provide about 41 parking stalls, a drive-up book drop, a pedestrian entrance and an elevator to the second floor.
The second floor will house about 70,000 books, DVDs, CDs, etc., as well as three times the number of Internet stations, a self-checkout machine and a program room available for rent after hours.
Depending on the library’s use, more library assistants, technicians or librarians might be added.
Burns said the old 6,500-square-foot library, built in 1966, was the second smallest on Oahu, with about 35,000 library materials, but the 10th busiest.
"One of the most compelling reasons for expanding the Manoa Public Library was its very high usage," he said. "The people who use Manoa Public Library are highly literate, value education and use their local library heavily."
Regarding the look of the library, with a spotted "cast rock finish" exterior, Burns said "a big concern" for library users, the community and staff was that the library retain a neighborhood feel.
To that end, he said the exterior finishes were inspired in part by historic buildings in Manoa and other neighborhoods. The roof is peaked to resemble local homes.
As the cast rock finish is applied and the landscaping planted, "the building will blend seamlessly into its neighborhood," Burns said. The building also will be energy efficient.
"The building was painstakingly designed, with maximum input from patrons, the community, library staff and professionals," he said.
Manoa Library Manager Cristel Collins is available to answer any other questions or concerns. You can call her at 988-0459.
To the couple who happened to walk by our parents’ home in Newtown the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. Mom fell on the pavement and Dad called out to you. You came without hesitating in your Sunday best attire. With blood pouring from her cuts/scrapes, you helped her up, took her in the house and gave her first aid. Because of your actions, she healed well. In his panic, Dad did not get your names nor thank you adequately. Our family is deeply grateful for your act of kindness. — A Grateful Family