The Hawaii State Public Library System is facing a tough situation: with the latest operating budget voted down, the System is now attempting to meet a budget reduction of 20% ($3.58 million according to HSPLS; $6 million according to the Honolulu Advertiser. To meet the new restrictions, HSPLS has frozen over 70 vacant positions and contemplating furlough days. To meet the challenge, HSPLS and the Friends of the Library of Hawaii have launched campaigns to meet the monetary challenge: “Keep Your Library Open!‘ and “Keep the Doors Open!“. Both campaigns are looking for tax-deductible donations, with the Friends of the Library asking for as little as $3 from Hawaiian state residents, though I’m sure they wouldn’t turn away outside contributions.
Why am I putting the word out when so many public libraries are facing similar crises? Because if there are closures, temporary or permanent, many residents may be forced to use branches hours away from their homes, such as the previous proposal to close the Hana branch, which would have meant a three-plus hour drive the the closest branch. The proposal was voted down, but temporary closures for the system still loom. And there are many small towns across the islands which may face the same situation.
So I’m asking all of you to give Hawaiian pubic libraries a big aloha by donating money today, even if it’s $3. Think about it: that’s the same price as a box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts from the ABC Stores and way cheaper than a jello shot from a Waikiki bar. And unlike the jello shot, you’ll remember the donation long after your next Hawaiian vacation.