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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Final $3.8 million released for bigger Manoa library

By Mary Vorsino
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer


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Cost: $10.3 million

Size: 13,000 square feet, compared with 6,500 square feet currently

Work starts: August 2008

Length of project: Two years

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Gov. Linda Lingle has released $3.8 million for the reconstruction of Manoa Public Library, allowing the state to move forward with a $10.3 million project to raze the aging structure and replace it with a bigger, more environmentally friendly building.

The money will also go toward buying two portables, which will hold about 10,000 books, DVDs, CDs and other items from the library for checkout while the demolition and reconstruction are under way.

Once construction is finished, the portables will be given to Noelani Elementary School, which needs more classroom space.

Construction on the library will start in August 2008, but the portables aren't expected to be ready until December 2008, forcing residents to go to other libraries during the lapse, officials said.

Christel Collins, Manoa Public Library branch manager, said the break in service is disappointing. The state will need the time to make sure the portables are wheelchair-accessible and have other safety features.

"I'm hoping it can be done quicker," Collins said.

The 1,000-square-foot portables will be housed at Noelani Elementary School, and have regular hours and take reserve requests.

Manoa Library, built in 1966, is one of the state's busiest branch libraries, and also one of its smallest. The library is only 6,500 square feet. The new library will double in size, to about 13,000 square feet.

It will also double its parking to 37 spaces, with a basement lot.

The planning and design of the new building will be finished in March 2008. It will have environmentally friendly and technologically advanced features, and be designed to blend in with the community.

As far back as 1980, Collins said, Manoa residents have been pushing to expand their library. In 2005, the governor released $6.5 million for the project. The library will be finished in November 2010.

Collins said the next step for employees at the library will be to weed out its collection of about 50,000 items, donating books and more to other libraries. The library will keep out-of-print books, along with new and popular selections, and many CDs and DVDs.

The new library will house 100,000 items, many of which will be purchased new with other money the state has not yet appropriated.

Reach Mary Vorsino at mvorsino@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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