***Commentary*** Briefly, About Our Pahoa Library

Do you know that our Mainstreet Pahoa?? library only has SIX parking spaces, and we have 5,000 active library users? It is just unbelievable how underserved this area is… Those are the figures I learned today, standing in line at the bank, hearing a woman complaining about people who invent parking spaces in the neighborhood in order to access the library.  We desperately need our state representatives to pursue a new and improved library for Pahoa. It is imperative. The existing library should be reserved for the school, and students should be able to access that library during school and after school. The community library should have ample parking and should be art center as well  — Tiffany Edwards Hunt

14 replies
  1. JT
    JT says:

    State Representatives? Come on Tif! You’re running for County office, isn’t that a code violation at the County level that can be resolved right here on our Island? Part of being a good Councilperson is knowing how to solve problems at the lowest level. That’s where the local understanding lives. As soon as you elevate you loose impact and perspective amongst all the others.

  2. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:

    Yes and the study for that library: $300K.
    We need an expanded PAHOA library. There can be a Puna Regional Library too. As I said, it is unbelievable how under served Puna is; if that little library in Pahoa is servicing 5,000 users, imagine Kea’au. We need to promote literacy, and the love of learning.

  3. mark
    mark says:

    In my opinion, there needs to be two libraries. One for Pahoa students in the existing Library with a school librarian and another State Library located near the new Pahoa Park. We have the third most visited library on the Island and we are in need of newer facilities to accommodate the ever-increasing lower Puna population. The Pahoa Regional Town Center Steering Committee is advocating for just that.

  4. punated
    punated says:

    Books are great. However, in this climate, they soak up moisture and start curling or swelling up. While the books could be kept under humidity and temperature control while in the library, who knows where they go after that?

    It would be better to have an e-library with some method to download on demand from Amazon and Gutenberg for example. The “books” would be e-readers that can be checked out. Stick with e-ink readers so there is little advantage to stealing and hacking them into general purpose pads plus get firmware to remote activate a locator when lost, stolen or missing. Color e-ink readers should be about $100 by the time any library decision is made, so one for every person would be 5000 x $100 = $50K. Of course, this isn’t needed and about 2000 would cover the peak checkout rate. Once the books are loaded, no internet connection is needed. There is admin software to inactivate the books after the checkout time expires. There could still be paper books, just less emphasis on those and more available electronically. Knowledge is increasing faster than paper can be printed anyway.

  5. Dave Smith
    Dave Smith says:

    Pahoa’s library has been the busiest in Puna, which is the district with the second-highest circulation on the Big Island (behind only the Hilo library, the busiest in the state).


    The state librarian acknowledges the need for library facilities in Puna, but finding money has been the problem. The Senate version of the CIP budget has $800K for planning and design of a Puna regional library, but it remains to be seen whether that will survive conference.

  6. Ken
    Ken says:


    Maybe you should spend some time at the library looking up multiplication and simple math!

  7. Greg
    Greg says:

    Once you are registered with the library, you have access to their extensive catalog of e-books and other digital media. You can do all you suggest from the comfort of your home, free of charge.

  8. Russell Ruderman
    Russell Ruderman says:

    Tiff is correct to call on state representatives for this; Libraries are a state kuleana. In the State Senate this year I listed funding to begin the process for a Puna Regional Library in Pahoa as my #1 fiscal CIP priority, and as Dave Smith correctly states, there is currently a large figure in the Senate’s version of the budget for feasibility study and planning. I am hoping it survives conference, and I’m doing all I can to help that.
    Statewide the move is to take libraries out of schools. The school library will then be for students without the current use conflicts, and a modern library will serve the whole community.
    Currently Pahoa’s library is the 3rd most used on the island, after Hilo & Kailua, with 6 parking spots including staff. Obviously the state’s fastest growing community deserves the next Regional Library.
    I brought the Senate Ways and Means committee to the Pahoa library last year to explain the need. Damon is correct that at one point it was not settled where in Puna it will be. I have always advocated for a Pahoa location to serve the large population surrounding Pahoa, so distant from Hilo’s library. I continue to push for this location.
    As Pahoated suggests, the modern libraries are not be just a collection of books, but will have computer, digital, AV, meeting, and conferencing resources also.
    A Pahoa library can improve our whole community and serve a broad spectrum of people for free, and help fill much needed educational needs. The House needs to agree to this first funding in the next 2 weeks. I hope everyone will support the effort to secure this funding.

  9. Dale (Retired Hilo Librarian)
    Dale (Retired Hilo Librarian) says:

    I’ve heard of N.I.M.B.Y but now I see there is another group called P.I.M.B.Y. (Please, in my back yard) As a retired Hilo Librarian living in HPP, a new Pahoa Public Library sure would be convenient for me. However, we have to think not just of ourselves but for ALL of Puna. Therefore, the most likely place for a public library to serve all the fast growing subdivisions in Puna, is not Pahoa but Keaau. That is where Highway 130 and Highway 11 meet. Don’t think there is enough tax dollars for 2 libraries.

  10. Russell Ruderman
    Russell Ruderman says:

    I like your new acronym, PIMBY! There are some good points in favor of Keaau as the location for Puna Regional Library. The reasons I prefer Pahoa are:
    Most of Puna’s population surrounds Pahoa;
    Pahoa’s tiny school/public library is 3rd most used on island;
    Once you’re in Keaau, Hilo library is only 10-15 minutes away. From Pahoa it’s 45 minutes. From parts of Lower Puna over an hour;
    Keeps traffic off Hwy 130.
    I trust the feasibility study will identify the correct location for all of Puna, and I agree that upper Puna needs one too, perhaps in the rapidly growing & also-underserved Mountain View area. Puna is large enough to justify a second library someday, but one at a time!

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