Maui News

Friends of the Library of Hawaiʻi Select Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran as Legislator of the Year

January 29, 2021, 8:09 AM HST
* Updated January 29, 8:12 AM
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Senator Gil Keith-Agaran. PC: Friends of the Library of Hawaiʻi.

The Friends of the Library of Hawaiʻi has awarded Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran the Mahalo Award as the FLH 2020 Legislator of the Year.  Senator Keith-Agaran represents Senate District 5 – Wailuku, Waiheʻe, and Kahului.  The award was presented at the FLH Legislative Recognition Event held virtually on Jan. 27. 

State Librarian, Stacey Aldrich, welcomed invited guests from the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, Hawaiʻi State Public Library System, and Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i Affiliates and volunteers.

FLH Executive Director, Nainoa Mau, State Librarian Stacey Aldrich, and Senator Keith-Agaran were the featured speakers, sharing successful Friends and library accomplishments for 2020 and looking ahead to 2021 when library services will remain critical for digital equity.

Senator Keith-Agaran thanked two of his elementary school teachers, Mabel Todd and Carolyn Moore who introduced him to chapter books and children’s literature which began a lifelong love of novels of all kinds and reading in general. 

Senator Keith-Agaran has been a lifelong public library user and has a keen interest in the success of Hawaiʻi’s public libraries. He has been a supporter for increases in the 51-branch library system budget as well as supporting the Friends of the Library of Hawaiʻi with their FY2020 grant-in-aid request. The organization reports that Senator Keith-Agaran has been attentive to the Maui public libraries and the current renovation of the Kahului branch.

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Senator Keith-Agaran has served in the state legislature since 2009, beginning as a state representative and moving to the state senate in 2013. Senator Keith-Agaran is the Vice-Chair of the Senate Water and Land and the Senate Ways and Means Committees and is a member of the Higher Education Committee.  

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Senator Keith-Agaran is a graduate of Maui High School. He has a BA in history from Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut and he is a graduate of the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. Aside from public service Keith-Agaran is a partner in the Maui law firm of Takitani & Agaran. He is married to Kallie Keith-Agaran.

The Mahalo Award is presented annually to a State legislator who has demonstrated exemplary support of Hawai‘i’s public libraries during the prior legislative session.

The Legislative Recognition Event provides a unique opportunity for supporters of the Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i State Public Library staff to discuss the needs and concerns of Hawaiʻi’s public libraries.

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The Friends of the Library of Hawaiʻi was founded in 1879 as a nonprofit organization to support and promote Hawai‘i’s public libraries, encouraging literacy and providing educational programming outside of the normal State budget. FLH provides this funding through fundraising events, including three major booksales including the Annual Booksale at McKinley High School cafeteria and an annual Links to Literacy golf tournament.

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