Friday, July 8, 2011

Books for the Beaches

Sometimes, libraries just happen.  In May, we stumbled across the Langley Library (Sno-Isle Libraries) after a biking trip on Whidbey Island.  To be honest, we were looking for a brewery, but came upon books instead!  Of course, I dashed inside to take a peek and snap a few pictures as I’m never one to pass up an impromptu library visit.

However, in the case of the blog post topic I’m really going to write about, I went seeking, on a different kind of island.


(And, no, not THAT South Pacific island).

We recently returned from the glorious island of Maui (our second visit, 10 years apart!).  Two of the libraries in the Hawaii State Public Library System were on my radar, Lahaina and Kihei.  There are six branches on Maui, and the library system, the only state-wide system in the US, manages 50 branches across the six main islands. I can only imagine what the sun, sand, and surf regularly do to their collection!

The Lahaina Library is easily found on Wharf Street near the busy tourist-thronged Front Street.  If you are walking the “Ala Hele Mo‘olelo O Lahaina” (Lahaina Historic Trail), you’ll definitely end up at the library along the way. I took a quick peek in…and it’s a library!  Books, computers, and people were everywhere and like all libraries, the place bustled with energy in general.  There are current efforts underway to give the 55 year old Lahaina library a freshen-up – if you find yourself on the island next week, don’t miss the “Savor The Sunset” fundraiser!

Lahaina Library Grounds

Kihei Library, located off the popular through-road in Kihei, is also located close to the action. We passed it every day to and from our various activities in South Maui.  When I stopped in, I had to wonder, “How did the Space Needle shrink and swim across that much Pacific Ocean!?”

Space Needle Model in Kihei Library

Both libraries also have historic and cultural items on their grounds, including a former royal taro root field in Lahaina and a ko’a, a fish god shrine, in the case of Kihei.


As much as I love to read, Maui had so much to offer that I never found time to bring my book to the beach!  (And no, I didn’t bring any of my own library books with me….while I’ve certainly travelled with library books in the past, I don’t generally make ocean crossings with them!)


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