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Library project a true community effort

By Staff | Dec 13, 2012

Visited Lahaina Public Library lately? Stop in to see the new flooring, fresh paint, gleaming shelves, new layout and other recent improvements.

Mahalo to Sara Foley, Norm Bezane, members of the Lahaina Rotary Club, Maui Friends of the Library, island contractors and the small army of volunteers that tackled this project to revamp Lahaina’s quaint, waterfront library.

Through their hard work, the 57-year-old library was remodeled to the tune of $300,000 at no cost to the state.

The library project involved 3,500 volunteer hours with a crew of 60 people. In just one facet, volunteers stripped the facility to bare walls by packing and storing 35,000 books. Later on, when new shelves arrived, they put all the books back up.

Also crucial to the project was the $155,000 in services donated by 21 contractors. “The contractors again and again went beyond what they had been asked to do, often volunteering on their own to do extra things,” Bezane noted.

State Librarian Richard Burns is impressed with Lahaina’s project, and he hopes other Hawaii communities will help spruce up their small town libraries.

“The Lahaina Public Library Modernization Project, which is the result of the combined efforts of the Rotary Club of Lahaina, Maui Friends of the Library, local contractors and businesses, and the entire community, is unprecedented in Hawaii. The amount of support they have marshaled in their community, including volunteers, fundraising, in-kind donations and manpower, are an inspiration. Not only has this collective effort refurbished and rejuvenated the library building, it has motivated the support and appreciation of people throughout the community for their library,” he commented.

“The efforts of the Rotary Club of Lahaina, Maui Friends of the Library, businesses, residents and everyone else who has been involved or contributed to this project can serve as a shining example for other library projects throughout the state While the magnitude and scope of the Lahaina project is exceptional, there are numerous smaller scale improvement, upgrade and renovation projects at almost every library that could be undertaken by a dedicated group of volunteers and supporters.”

Between fund-raisers, planning and executing this major renovation over 60 days, Rotarians and other library supporters invested three years in this project.

“I can honestly say Sara and I had no idea what we were getting into spearheading this project. We cannot imagine how we could have gotten it done without ‘super-volunteer’ John Trygestagg, who was there every time we needed him,” said Bezane, a Lahaina News columnist.

During the worst of the recession in recent years, the state considered closing Lahaina’s library. Now, West Maui has a library it can take pride in. Congratulations to everyone involved with this project.