The unveiling of Little Free Library #128118 in Wailuku, Hawaii, was a community project led by Rosetta Hiranaga. Friends and neighbors contributed in a variety of ways to make this a memorable community event.

Rosetta, Chair of Literacy Promotion at her Haleakala Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, became interested in Little Free Libraries years ago after visiting family members in Minnesota. She introduced the idea of sponsoring a LFL to her chapter and asked her neighborhood Homeowners Association if she could purchase and place a LFL in the neighborhood.

The board excitedly approved the project, and Rosetta collaborated with the HOA President, Debbie Horne, and Event Planner Jenna Krisher to steward the library. Chapter members chose one of three designs Rosetta sent them. They decided on a location; the library would be situated near the Mail Hale (mail house). Chapter members gathered books for the library at a neighborhood coffee place and helped to create signs about the reveal event. They also sent in a neighborhood newsletter.

Rosetta’s chapter purchased some children’s books and books about racial issues in the US for the library. Rosetta invited chapter members to the reveal event along with two speakers. One was Maui County’s Bookmobile librarian, Jessica Gleason, and the other was the state Representative Troy Hashimoto. In Hawaii, it is common to bless properties, so Rosetta asked her friend, Pastor Wayne Higa, to bless the library.

From the get-go, many people got involved. A community member asked Rosetta if she could make cross-stitched bookmarks for some of the books, so the first batch of books had these tucked inside. In addition, chapter members sent Rosetta their favorite poems. Her niece handprinted the poems on a white tagboard bookmark for some of the books as a special surprise for the readers. The Wailuku library also donated several bookmarks with their information included so interested readers could find the library both online and in person.

At the launch event, Chuck, Rosetta’s friend, made 40 hand-wrapped cookies for the guests. Rosetta purchased 12 monarch butterflies from Honolulu and asked her friend, Christina, to release them during the blessing. Arlene, Rosetta’s friend, played her ukulele and sang The Rainbow Connection ( a song sung by Kermit on Sesame Street) before and after the presentation.

Since the reveal, Rosetta keeps up with the library every few days and keeps track of which books were popular and which weren’t. She plans to continue to stock children’s books.

For anyone interested in starting a little library of their own or for their community, Rosetta suggests they research how different libraries work in their areas. She also suggests they take advantage of LFL’s e-newsletters and blog posts to familiarize themselves with LFL’s purpose.

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