Hawaiian Library Visits

by Irena Trebic

In the Fall of 2014, I visited Honolulu, Hawaii.  In addition to enjoying the beautiful beaches, sunny weather, and rainforest hikes, I decided that my visit would be incomplete if I did not visit a few Hawaiian libraries!  I visited a total of three libraries: The University of Hawaii at Mānoa Hamilton Library, Chaminade University Sullivan Family Library, and Cooke Library at Punahou School, a private school where President Barack Obama attended.

University of Hawaii at Mānoa Hamilton Library

The Hamilton Library is the largest research library in the state of Hawaii.  Hamilton Library houses research collections in the humanities, social sciences, science, and technology, and it has particularly strong Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islands collections. The library has also built outstanding collections on tropical agriculture, ocean sciences, and marine biology.

Chaminade University Sullivan Family Library

The next library I visited was the Sullivan Family Library at Chaminade University, a private Catholic university in Honolulu, HI, with a total student enrollment of just under 3000.

I was stunned by the beautiful tropical garden next to the library as well as the architecture of the library building itself.  The library was founded in 1955 by the Society of Mary, a Roman Catholic religious order which is also known as the Marianists.  In 2008, the new library building was completed.  It took two years to build at a cost of almost $15 million. The library has a 40-workstation computer lab, multimedia group study rooms, a technology training lab, and an instructional support room for faculty.

Punahou School Cooke Library

Punahou School is a private, co-educational, college-preparatory school for students from kindergarten through grade twelve.  It is located at the edge of lush Manoa Valley in Honolulu.  Punahou School is the largest independent school in the United States with a total student enrollment of nearly 3,800.   U.S. President Barack Obama graduated from Punahou in 1979.

Punahou School has three libraries on its campus: Cooke Library, Bishop Learning Center, and Ing Learning Center.  The Cooke Library serves students in grades nine to twelve, as well as staff, administrators and alumni.  Bishop Learning Center serves students and faculty in grades five to eight.  The Ing Learning Center serves as the library and multimedia facility for kindergarten to grade four.

I was impressed to learn that the Punahou school campus covers 76 acres! There are over 50 educational and administrative buildings. Due to the sheer size of the Punahou school campus, I only found my way to the Cooke Library and did not get a chance to visit the other two libraries.

I would highly recommend visiting Hawaiian libraries if you get a chance to visit the beautiful island of O’ahu.

Irena Trebic is the Collection Development Librarian at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, ON.