HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Music enthusiast Leo Daquioag and ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro were instrumental in putting nearly 100 ukulele into public libraries, where patrons can check them out as easily as they borrow a book.
“The ukulele is commonly associated with Hawaii. So it kinda makes sense that the ukulele be a part of our music culture” said Daquioag.
He founded the Music for Life Foundation. The non-profit partnered with the state library system to start the ukulele lending program earlier this year.
State Librarian Stacey Aldrich said the effort is a resounding success.
“I think there are a lot of people who are excited. They might want to try the ukulele but they’re not sure they want to make an investment. It gives them a chance to try it,” she said.
You need a library card to borrow an ukulele. For 21 days at a time, you get an instrument, a tuner and bag to carry them.
The ukulele program is now offered in the Hawaii State Library and public libraries in Nanakuli, Waimanalo, Aina Haina and Kaimuki.
Next month, they’ll be available for loan at the Kaneohe Public Library.
The Kala brand soprano-sized instruments are made from sturdy acrylic material.
"Along with being durable they are also water resistant," Daquioag said.
"When you do check out your first ukulele we do have a form that you fill out. You will be responsible for any real damage that you do to the instrument because we want to make sure they're available for everybody to play," Aldrich said.
So far, borrowers have been careful with the instruments.
Ninety-eight ukulele are divvied up among the five libraries. Since the program started in February the instruments have been checked out more than 230 times.
Some libraries even offer ukulele classes.
“We believe in opportunities through availability and access,” Daquioag said.
Aldrich said her goal is to someday have the instruments for loan in all 51 public libraries in the state.
“Our libraries are about our stories and music also tells stories,” she said.