HANA LIBRARY CONSIDERED FOR CLOSURE

July 16, 2009, 12:33 PM HST · Updated July 16, 12:36 PM
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The state board of education will consider today the closure of five public libraries including the public library in the remote East Maui community of Hana.

Hundreds of residents in the remote East Maui Town of Hana are fighting to keep their Public Library open as it faces possible closure under a plan submitted by the state Library system. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Hundreds of residents in the remote East Maui Town of Hana are fighting to keep their Public Library open as it faces possible closure under a plan submitted by the state Library system. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The proposed closures were raised by the Hawaii State Public Library System as a way of cutting state costs.

Community advocates say Hana’s distance from other resources would put its residents at a disadvantage if the library were to close.

Maui Board of Education Representative Mary Cochran voiced strong opposition against the proposed closure which goes before the board for review today.

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Under the reduction plan, the Hawaii State Public Library System projects a savings of $20,100, should the Hana library closure gain approval.

The proposed closure of the 5 public libraries was determined after analysis of factors that included staff vacancies, low circulation/usage, geographical proximity to neighboring libraries, repair and maintenance costs, and rising operating costs.

Library officials say even though the dollar savings for closing the libraries may initially appear low, indirect cost savings would be realized from reduced delivery, postage, employee support, and shared resources.

Should the proposal be approved, library closures would probably not occur until the end of this 2009 calendar year.

The Hana library is the only Maui library included on the list.  Other libraries included in the proposal are Holualoa, Pahala, and Kealakekua on the Big Island of Hawaii, and ‘Ewa Beach Public library on O’ahu.

In the recommendation memo to the Board of Education Chair, State Librarian Richard Burns said, “closing any public library has always been an absolute last resort, but we were forced to take these unprecedented actions in order to preserve the rest of our system.”

The full board meets today at 3:30 p.m. at the Queen Liliuokalani Building on Miller Street in Honolulu.

(By Wendy Osher © 2009)

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