Celebrating the completion of a new used bookstore at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center, the Maui Friends of the Library (MFOL) will hold its official grand opening from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, complete with a blessing and ribbon cutting, an appearance by the Isle of Man Pipe band, sliders from Rubies, a cake and half-price books.
Mayor Alan Arakawa will join the festivities for a 2 p.m. blessing and ribbon cutting ceremony.
Responding to the closing of the only major bookstore in Kahului, the Maui Friends group, in cooperation with Queen Ka'ahumanu Center, opened a 900-square-foot store in November 2012 in a vacant business near Sears.
Volunteer Joyce Mandracken prepares a window display for the grand opening of Kahului’s largest bookstore. The store has sold more than 20,000 books since a soft opening in November 2012.
Maui Friends of the Library bookstore is now fully stocked with 12,000 books, Co-Manager Richard Buckley announced.
Staffed by 35 volunteers, whose names will be placed on a commemorative cake, the store has a large collection of fiction, non-fiction, new and old Hawaiiana and a separate children and young adults section.
Many paperbacks and even hardbacks are priced at $1 with out of print books selling at $3 and up. The store also has a complement of new books by Maui authors and classic books on Hawai'i.
"The Queen Ka'ahumanu store is part of a three-store operation which includes book stores in Pu'unene and Lahaina, and it has been highly successful from the start," said Dorothy Tolliver, president of the Maui Friends group. "Proceeds have helped the MFOL secure more funding to finance special programs and supply other needs of Maui County's libraries."
According to Jo Ann Carroll a veteran in the book industry, who co-manages the Kahului store and the MFOL Lahaina bookstore, the venture began when longtime book lovers and collectors Tom and Machele Stabler acquired the inventory of the Old Lahaina bookstore from Carroll and donated thousands of books to MFOL. They then undertook the task of converting an empty store to become the bookstore it is today.
Many older and new books that used to end in the landfill now are saved. John Tryggstad, MFOL board member and recently described as a super-volunteer, regularly picks up books from donors island-wide, filling the warehouse to the brim and providing a continuing stream of books for the stores.
"Today, we not only sell books; we save and preserve them for new readers and all those who cherish older books," Tolliver noted.
The Maui Friends uses the proceeds from the bookstores to fund library programs, books, equipment, supplies and to meet the special needs of the county's libraries.