Building Community

By Della Au Belatti
Wednesday - September 14, 2011 Share

By Della Au Belatti, Board Member,
Friends of the Makiki Community Library

On any given Wednesday afternoon, in the heart of urban Honolulu, you can walk into Makiki District Park and find the “little library that could” doing what it does best: serving Makiki’s diverse community with welcoming volunteers, books leading to shores beyond Hawaii, programs promoting literacy and community, and a computer center buzzing with activity.

Born out of community activism in 1976, Makiki Community Library is the only community library operating within the Parks Department in the City and County of Honolulu. The library is staffed by enthusiastic volunteers and one parttime paid library manager, while Friends of the Makiki Community Library and its dedicated volunteer board of directors oversee the library’s operations and finances.

Collectively, more than 30 active volunteers log close to 4,000 hours each year to run free community programs, staff the library and maintain its modest two-story facility. The library boasts more than 800 card-carrying patrons, and visitors can stop by Wednesdays, 2 to 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.

A Makiki family enjoys a quiet moment in the library’s cozy keiki reading corner. Photo by Jamie Noland

To keep its doors open, the library depends solely on community donations. Last year, Friends held its first formal fundraising reception by putting on the A Taste for Books event in the parish hall at neighboring St. Clement’s Church, a community partner that has collaborated with the library in hosting festivals, conducting community cleanups, and starting up Makiki’s popular evening farmers market.

This year, Friends bring back A Taste for Books to encourage supporters to come out for a night of friendly conversation, good food, tasty drinks and most importantly community fellowship.

This year’s culinary event will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m., at St. Clement’s Church, located at 1515 Wilder Ave. Tickets cost $25 and can be picked up at the library or purchased this Thursday between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Makiki Farmers Market at St. Clement’s Church. Donations also can be mailed to the Friends of the Makiki Community Library at 1527 Keeaumoku St., Honolulu, HI, 96822.

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