The Kailua-Kona Public Library will soon have new carpet thanks to nonprofit support group Friends of the Libraries, Kona.
Approximately 7,600 square feet of carpet tile will be installed at the Kailua-Kona branch beginning Dec. 11, said Head Librarian Irene Horvath. It’s the first time the library has seen new carpeting since it opened in 1992.
“The carpet has held up well, but the glue underneath is drying out, causing the carpet to ripple,” said Horvath, who’s been head librarian at the Hualalai Road library since it opened. “It’s a safety concern.”
The library will be closed between Dec. 11 and 15 for the work, in addition to its normal closures on Sundays and Mondays. Normal operations will resume on Dec. 18.
During the closure, books can be returned via the library’s two drop-off boxes, however, books that have been ordered online or held for pickup will not be available, Horvath said. The Kealakekua Public Library will maintain normal hours during the work.
FOLK President Pamela Wang said the carpeting costs about $36,000 and will installed by Hilo-based Floor Decor, which submitted the lowest bid for the project. Proceeds from book sales the organization holds on the library’s lanai funded the project.
Wang said carpet tile was chosen because it is easier to install around fixed shelving and, if needed, single tiles can be replaced rather than a large area of carpet. She added the organization purchased extra tiles with that in mind.
The FOLK project follows at least several years of requests by the library for new carpeting, Wang and Horvath said. On Friday, the carpet appeared loose and lifted from the floor, ripples were visible, and tape held together a carpet seam.
“They were turned down year after year, and we felt it had reached its critical point,” said Wang. “It’s been in mind for several years, but it was too big and it’s now our biggest project ever.”
FOLK, established in 1988, is a nonprofit organization that serves the Kailua-Kona and Kealakekua public libraries. It also assisted Holualoa Public Library until the state closed the facility in 2009.
Through its members and volunteers, FOLK supports the public libraries with educational programs, equipment, materials, money and volunteers. Since 1992, said Treasurer Barbara Isley, the organization has contributed more than $200,000, not including the upcoming carpet project.
Horvath said the group’s support for the Kona libraries is integral to operations. The help from FOLK with programs, decorating and purchasing items supplements the state libraries’ budget, which has been on the decline over the years.
“The budget keeps falling, and the state pays less and less,” Horvath said. “They (FOLK) are very important because they are paying for things relevant to the community that we can’t get through the budget.”
The $3.1 million, 10,500-square-foot Kailua-Kona Public Library opened at its current Hualalai Road site on March 1, 1992. It replaced an approximately 1,800-square-foot library housed in the state Department of Education West Hawaii Annex building on the same property since September 1983. The previous Kona library, which was about 900 square feet in area, was also located in the annex.
For more information, or to donate, visit folkhawaii.com.