12 Unique Aspects of Hawai‘i’s Libraries That You Might Not Know About

The statewide system offers free wi-fi, audiobooks, manga, e-books, DVDs, CDs, language apps, classes, history and a whole lot more.

Hawai'i Libraries


I confess: I’m a lifelong library lover. And our Hawai‘i state library system has earned a solid reputation for books, savvy librarians and reference materials we need for school, research and whatnot. This story focuses on the whatnot.


That is, beyond the books, book clubs and cache of magazines, newspapers and reference books, the 51-branch system with a $40 million annual budget and staff of 500, the library system offers some pretty cool features that aren’t as obvious. (To find out more about the newest construction, innovations and essential facts about libraries, you need to read the August 2018 issue of HONOLULU.)


Turns out the libraries have been branching out while the rest of us weren’t really noticing. And our staff, which you might guess does include a large number of library lovers, kept discovering more fascinating factoids about the libraries, the more we looked. Thanks to state library Stacey Aldrich and the rest of the helpful library staff for helping us share some.


READ ALSO: Hawai‘i’s Public Library System Offers Way More Than Just Books


Tell us any we missed in the comments:


  • If you visit your local public library you can use the in-house resource Ancestry.com with your library card for free to find out more about your family’s history.

  • North Kohala has a windmill to help generate power for the library and earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification.

  • Biggest manga collections: ‘Aiea and McCully-Mō‘ili‘ili libraries. 

  • Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr., credited as the “Father of Modern Baseball,” lived in Hawai‘i for 44 years and was a library supporter and donor. (Cartwright is buried in O‘ahu Cemetery and a neighborhood park in Makiki bears his name.)

  • Largest Chinese language collection is at the Liliha branch.

  • Largest Korean language collection is at McCully library.

  • Nā‘ālehu on the Big Island is the most southern library in the 50 states.

  • High school never ends: A lot of libraries have area high school yearbooks that the public can look at, including a large collection at the Hawai‘i State Library.

  • Keeping dry: Four branches have covered parking lots—Mānoa and McCully and Hawai‘i Kai branches and Laupahoehoe on Hawai‘i Island.)

  • Spiritual Power: The Naha Stone in front of the Hilo branch includes important artifacts of the area’s Native Hawaiian traditions and are a link to early ali‘i in the region.   Kamehameha I is said to have confirmed the prophecy of his rise to power by moving this massive stone when he was a young man. 

  • Wahiawā library has cherry trees planted by former Hawai‘i first lady Jean Ariyoshi.

  • The Hawai‘i State Library has been used as a venue in scenes from Hawai‘i Five-0 and Magnum PI.


Find out even more: librarieshawaii.org.