October 25, 2010 – KAPAAU, Hawaii
Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Karin Stanton
It was moving day for the books at the old Bond Memorial Library, headed down the road to a newer, nicer home at the North Kohala Public Library.
But in order for the books to make it there, a little community kokua was needed. And according to librarian Janet Lam, they did it the old fashioned way.
Nearly 2,000 volunteers lined up on the Akoni Pule Highway on Saturday to form a human chain, so they could pass the thousands of books – or huki puke, in Hawaiian – over a mile and a third down the road to the new library.
In order to accomplish the goal, nearly every able bodied resident in North Kohala was needed. Lam says the entire population of the North Kohala area of Hawaii Island is about 6,000.
The library got the help it needed, from folks between the ages of 9 to 90.
The entire effort was inspired by the story of King Kamehameha the Great, born in the North Kohala region, who organized a similar human chain during his reign.
One challenge facing libraries in modern times is relevancy… organizers hope the huki puke excercise will establish a vested interest in the survival of the new facility.
And as evidenced by this small town’s big effort, the public library remains a beloved part of North Kohala’s way of life.