GOING OUT WITH A BOOK!
This time of year, as I have now for so many years, I get to recap on The Friends of the Libraries, Kona and set the stage for what’s to come. First though, to fix the moment in our minds, let’s remember the amazingly clear skies we had for a while in West Hawaii because the latest eruption inside Kilauea has once again blanketed us with thick vog. This is the price we sometimes have to pay for living in beautiful Hawaii. We get to see real lava…….. at a cost. This past year we also witnessed an amazing and historic eruption coming from Mauna Loa, followed by a few clear, quiet weeks before Pele reappeared in Halema’uma’u. In December we experienced severe Kona winds, worse than any hurricane that’s tried to make land fall here, with tremendous rains and thunder and lightning and hail too! And that’s just recapping the last 5 weeks!
With less fanfare, we have also witnessed the return to almost normal business at the libraries, as Covid takes up less of our attention, and we have learned to deal with the concept of a pandemic. Everyone hopes that we will soon be able to offer programs and music events for the community. Although masks are still recommended in the libraries, we can begin to plan indoor presentations. Our book sales have resumed. This past spring, they were outdoors on the lanai, while lobby sales are always ongoing at the entrance of each library, and our latest work has been to bring monthly mini book sales within the Kailua Kona library featuring specially selected books.
Change is in the air. We have seen several staff with decades of experience retire this year, causing shifting roles within the libraries. We saw one maternity leave, some relocations, and we have welcomed several new staff as well. The search is ongoing for people to fill the “pukas”, the empty spots at both branches. Be patient, as the libraries are still understaffed and teams are trying hard to live up to your expectations and their own!
This year, this month in fact, I am retiring from the Board of Directors after 20 years of service, 15 as president, and I am going out with a book! The Board has resolved to show its appreciation for retiring board members who have served for at least two years by having each of our two West Hawaii libraries purchase a book in honor of the retiree. Following me out of office is Vice President Shirley David who is also retiring this month. Included in this resolution as well, are two other board members who retired this past summer: Suzanne Dmytrenko and John Kitchen, both of whom worked to bring programs to the library. Lastly, after many years on the board as Treasurer, Barbara Isley retired in June to travel, but came back on the Board at large for 4 months to complete our ranks, before her final retirement last month. Thank you to all of them for their truly excellent service. Look for all those new books in the libraries soon. They will each have a book plate in them.
In 2022, we also bid adieu to two board members who died this spring. Joyce Kimball was our long time publicity director and website manager, and Fred Hornbruch was a director at large. They are still missed. You can find books honoring them already on the shelves. Thanks to a new category of membership called In Memoriam, we have many books with the names of loved ones on the book plates.
In my two decades on the Board of Directors, I have had the good fortune to have had many helpers. We have had small boards and large ones, big dreams and also plans reduced by Covid, but we have never stopped working for the good of our libraries. When I began, we barely had a budget to speak of and frequently had to delay approving expenditures. Today, we have strong commitments from our members and sound backing in the community. We can support our libraries in many diverse ways. My colleagues brought with them a broad array of talents, ideas and viewpoints, but we always set aside our differences and worked together. My wish for F.O.L.K. is to carry on with open hearts and kind spirits and continue to make our libraries shine.
On January 24, 2023, at our Annual Meeting, we will present the results of our new online balloting and announce the names of the new board members. They will hold their first board meeting on January 31, 2023, and unlike how things have gone in Washington, D.C., they will go straight to work with a clear mission to continue to support our West Hawaii libraries. All F.O.L.K. members are invited to attend as we wrap up the past and open up to future. For more details, see our new website: www.folkhawaii.com .
I will look forward to seeing F.O.L.K. members in the community and in the libraries. Thank you all for your ongoing support of The Friends, and helping us make positive changes possible for our libraries.
A hui hou,