Kailua Elementary library among the best in the country - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kailua Elementary library among the best in the country

Darren Tanaka Darren Tanaka
Nancy Everhart Nancy Everhart

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email 

KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Every good book tells a story and every story has a star character.  In the case of Kailua Elementary School its library takes the lead role.  Not only is it the best in the state, it's ranked in the top 35 in the country.  That's the tops out of 100,000 libraries.

"That is a very elite club to belong to out of 100,000," said Nancy Everhart, American Association of School Librarians President, who toured Kailua Elementary today.

It's all part of the nationwide vision tour so the public can see what elite school libraries look like.

"These schools are going to be held up as models really throughout the United States if not the world as models of excellence," said Everhart. "Sports serves some kids, other programs serve some kids, but the library is there for every child. It helps every child fulfill their potential."

Sure there's plenty to read, but this library is about much more than books. Among its features are a computer lab and an aquaponics section to cultivate the mind.  It's even got a disco ball and more than 10 instruments for kids to play with and because of that there really isn't the 'shhh' factor like most libraries.

"They're allowed to be noisy, they're allowed to be creative.  If it gets a little out of hand we pull them back in a little bit but it's always about what the children are interested in at the time," said Darren Tanaka, Kailua Elementary School Librarian.

"I've never seen a school library with a piano and it all comes down to Mr. Tanaka here at this library and what he puts into it and how he values what's here and values the kids," said Everhart.

Librarian Darren Tanaka plays eight instruments but I'm pretty sure he could learn many more.

"Being selected as one of the top 35 quite honestly I really think I'm just doing my job. I don't think that I'm trying to be special, or I'm trying to be outstanding. I'm really just trying to serve the community that I work for," said Tanaka.

The preface is that the library didn't look like this when he took it over in 2005.

"It needed some love. It was beige and dusty there was no air conditioning. There was evidence the previous librarians were trying to maintain the collection and do the best they could but the mess was just overwhelming.  Half of this room was just filled with storage and for me that just wasn't okay," said Tanaka.  "It was not a place where anybody wanted to be. The first statement was good luck. ‘Oh you're the new librarian, yeah good luck.' That was my first welcome to Kailua elementary."

Yet within five years he turned the library from beige and boring to bold and the best.

"It's a great validation that I'm on the right track and if this visit can serve as some inspiration or motivation to other people to do something similar with their own passions or their own work environment then great because we're all teaching the same kids," said Tanaka.

That's one reason why this library's story is still being written bound for a happy ending.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

  • Hawaii News Now headlinesNewsMore>>

  • Similar slayings draw vastly different political reaction

    Similar slayings draw vastly different political reaction

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 1:07 AM EDT2018-09-19 05:07:30 GMT
    Wednesday, September 19 2018 7:22 PM EDT2018-09-19 23:22:06 GMT
    (Luke Lu/Iowa State University via AP). In this Sept. 7, 2017, photo provided by Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena poses for a photo. The former ISU golfer was found dead Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, at a golf course in Ame...(Luke Lu/Iowa State University via AP). In this Sept. 7, 2017, photo provided by Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena poses for a photo. The former ISU golfer was found dead Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, at a golf course in Ame...

    Former inmate Collin Richards was charged with stabbing Celia Barquin to death during a random attack while she was golfing by herself in broad daylight on Monday morning.

    More >>

    Former inmate Collin Richards was charged with stabbing Celia Barquin to death during a random attack while she was golfing by herself in broad daylight on Monday morning.

    More >>
  • Trump says 'hard to imagine' Kavanaugh guilty of allegation

    Trump says 'hard to imagine' Kavanaugh guilty of allegation

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 12:37 AM EDT2018-09-19 04:37:34 GMT
    Wednesday, September 19 2018 7:20 PM EDT2018-09-19 23:20:38 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon). In this Sept. 6, 2018 photo, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh reacts as he testifies after questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Official Washington is scrambling Monday to assess...(AP Photo/Alex Brandon). In this Sept. 6, 2018 photo, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh reacts as he testifies after questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Official Washington is scrambling Monday to assess...

    Trump has already rejected the idea of bringing in the FBI to reopen its background check of Kavanaugh. Should he order such a review, it would likely delay a confirmation vote until after the election.

    More >>

    Trump has already rejected the idea of bringing in the FBI to reopen its background check of Kavanaugh. Should he order such a review, it would likely delay a confirmation vote until after the election.

    More >>
  • Traffic deaths continue to soar with 4 more fatalities in recent days

    Traffic deaths continue to soar with 4 more fatalities in recent days

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 6:31 PM EDT2018-09-19 22:31:00 GMT
    Police responded to a fatal pedestrian crash in Wahiawa on Saturday night (Image: Jennifer Wong, Hawaii News Now)Police responded to a fatal pedestrian crash in Wahiawa on Saturday night (Image: Jennifer Wong, Hawaii News Now)

    Four people have died on Hawaii roadways in just the last three days, and the most recent are two pedestrians fatalities on Oahu Tuesday night. 

    More >>

    Four people have died on Hawaii roadways in just the last three days, and the most recent are two pedestrians fatalities on Oahu Tuesday night. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly