3 Hawaii libraries forced to temporarily close for repairs, construction

Library Closures

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With students out of school for winter break, families hoping to check out certain libraries are out of luck.

Three Oahu branches are temporarily closed because of emergency work or other issues.

Flash flooding swamped the Aina Haina Library in April, cutting off public access.

“Pretty much almost 100 percent of the entire library had some kind of water damage,” said Mallory Fujitani, special assistant in the Office of the State Librarian.

As the repairs wrapped up, the Hawaii State Public Library System finally received approval for a scheduled project to make the restrooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

With the additional work, the construction is now estimated to be done in February 2019. 1,700 boxes of books and materials will then have to be moved back in. The price tag for the repairs and other work is nearly $700,000.

“It was close and easy, fun for the kids, and there’s lots of things to do after storytime,” said Niu Valley resident Brigitte Mau.

The lengthy closure is inconvenient for families, especially during the holidays.

“We either have to go to a different library or find something else to do. We run out of things to keep them occupied,” said Niu Valley resident David Derrico.

The Liliha Library has been shut down since late November because of plumbing problems. Replacement of the old sewer lines is part of a $2.5 million renovation set to begin in mid-January.

The schedule hasn’t been finalized yet, but the project involves about 9 months of construction.

“We’ve got substantial structural issues with respect to the wall we share with a school. We’ve got a reroofing project. We’re repainting,” explained Fujitani.

The library in Ewa Beach is closed through New Year’s Day due to construction at Campbell High School.

The Kaneohe branch will also be off-limits during the month of January for a parking lot repaving project.

“(We’re) appreciating the public’s patience. We do have 51 libraries throughout the state and most of the libraries are over 50 years old so things happen,” said Fujitani.

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