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Grand opening marks completion of big used bookstore in Kahului

By Staff | Mar 21, 2013

Inspired by the success of its Lahaina store, Maui Friends of the Library opened an even bigger store in Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center.

KAHULUI – Spurred by the success of its used bookstore at The Wharf Cinema Center in Lahaina, Maui Friends of the Library last Saturday celebrated the grand opening of its third store at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.

The Kahului shopping mall freed up space for the new store, a short distance from Sears, after the grand opening of the Lahaina bookstore.

Stocked with 12,000 books now on sale, the store is being co-managed by former Old Lahaina Book Emporium owner Jo Ann Carroll.

The new, 900-square-foot Kahului store opened in November 2012.

Co-managed by Richard Buckley and staffed by 35 volunteers, the store has a large collection of fiction, nonfiction, new and old Hawaiiana books, and a separate children and young adults section.

Many paperbacks and even hardbacks are priced at $1, with out-of-print books selling at $3 and up.

The store also has a complement of new books by Maui authors and classic books on Hawaii.

“The Queen Ka’ahumanu store is part of a three-store operation which includes book stores in Puunene and Lahaina, and it has been highly successful from the start,” said Dorothy Tolliver, MFOL president.

“Proceeds have helped the Friends secure more funding to finance special programs and supply other needs of Maui County’s libraries.”

Carroll, a veteran in the book industry, said the venture began when longtime book lovers and collectors Tom and Machele Stabler acquired the inventory of the Old Lahaina Book Emporium from Carroll and donated thousands of books to Maui Friends of the Library.

They then undertook the task of converting an empty space to become the bookstore it is today

Many older and new books that once ended up in the landfill now are saved.

John Tryggstad, MFOL board member, recently described as a “super volunteer,” regularly picks up books from donors island-wide, filling the Friends’ warehouse to the brim and providing a continuing stream of books for the stores

“Today, we not only sell books. We save and preserve them for new readers and all those who cherish older books,” Tolliver noted.

MFOL uses the proceeds from the bookstores to fund library programs, books, equipment and supplies, and to meet the special needs of the county’s libraries.

During the past year, MFOL also partnered with and provided to the Rotary Club of Lahaina upwards of $30,000 to complete the facelift of the Lahaina Public Library.

The joint project, which has been praised by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Hawaii Legislature, was recently nominated for several Maui County small business/nonprofit awards.